Oct. 17, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams will head to sea level this weekend to compete at the Highlander Invite on Saturday in Riverside, Calif. The Cowboys race a 6-kilometer course at 9 a.m. MT, while the Cowgirls run 5 kilometers at 9:30 a.m. MT.
Wyoming last competed three weekends ago at the Roy Griak Invite in Minneapolis. Senior Garrett Zans placed 40th individually to pace the Cowboys to 11th in the team standings, while junior Holly Page was 61st to help the Cowgirls take 19th.
"After having three weekends off, we hope this meet is a confidence builder for our program," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "We've been training hard and will train through this meet, but we hope to run fast with the race being at sea level and a shorter distance. Our ultimate goal is still to run well at the meet after this one, the conference."
Last Time Out: UW Cross Country Posts Solid Finishes Against Loaded Field at Roy Griak
Running against several ranked programs, the University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams claimed 11th and 19th, respectively, at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 28 at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. No. 4 BYU won the men's title over No. 29 Arizona State, while No. 5 Arizona finished ahead of four other ranked teams in the women's race.
"The men came in here and fought hard," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "We had a 22-second split which is by far the best we've had in the last two years. We keep that up and move that pack up 10-15 seconds and we are really getting somewhere. The women's race was stacked today, but we fought hard, though. We have a young team and you always get a little scared with a young team when you have 350 athletes on the starting line."
Senior Garrett Zans led the Cowboys for the second time this season and seventh time in his career with a 25:08 over the 8-kilometer course to finish 40th overall in the field of 246 runners. Sophomore Amos Bowen crossed the line in 25:13 for 46th, followed five seconds later by senior Mike Banks in 53rd. Sophomore Aaron Derner placed 61st in 25:22 and sophomore Mike Seas rounded out UW's scorers in 61st at 25:30. UW had just a 22-second gap between its first to fifth runner to help the Cowboys finish just four places behind No. 24 North Carolina State.
"The men beat some really solid teams today and finished right behind a ranked team," Berryhill said. "If we have a couple guys run a couple seconds faster we beat a national-ranked team. Overall, a good, solid effort on the guy's side today."
Junior Holly Page paced the Cowgirls for a ninth-consecutive race and placed 61st overall in 22:13 against a very competitive field of 300 runners on the 6-kilometer course. Freshman Megan Brunette finished 10 seconds behind Page in 99th, while sophomore Audra DeStefano was 147th in 23:03. Junior Devon England crossed the line one second later for 149th and freshman Ali Walker was 167th in 23:11.
"Megan Brunette really stood out on the women's side," Berryhill said. "She started maybe 170th at the mile and ended up catching about 100 people by the finish line. For a young team, today's performance was okay, but we have a lot of work to do."
2013 Roy Griak InviteMen's Team Results1. No. 4 BYU - 622. Colorado State - 743. No. 29 Arizona State - 1394. Adams State - 1475. Oklahoma - 15211. Wyoming - 263
Wyoming Men Individual Results40. Garrett Zans - 25:0846. Amos Bowen - 25:1353. Mike Banks - 25:1861. Aaron Derner - 25:2269. Mike Seas - 25:30148. Dylan Morin - 26:10206. Michael Rotellini - 26:58216. Michael Kesy - 27:13
Women's Team Results1. No. 5 Arizona - 482. No. 13 Michigan State - 723. No. 29 Butler - 944. No. 19 Minnesota - 1045. No. 26 Iowa State - 11919. Wyoming - 527
Wyoming Women Individual Results61. Holly Page - 22:1399. Megan Brunette - 22:33147. Audra DeStefano - 23:03149. Devon England - 23:04167. Ali Walker - 23:11202. Emily Swigart - 23:32253. Cassidy Meade - 24:26274. Mary Kozlowski - 25:05
A Special Meet for Berryhill
Saturday's cross country meet at UC Riverside will be a special one for Wyoming head coach Bryan Berryhill. Irv Ray, Director of Track and Field/Cross Country at UCR, was Berryhill's coach from 2002 to 2006, while he competed as a professional. Berryhill accomplishments under him included finishing runner-up at the U.S. Championships twice in the 1,500 meters. Ray has over 20 years experience as a head coach and has guided student-athletes to nearly 200 All-America honors.
The Same Four
After having the same top four in each meet last season, the Cowboys are doing the same in 2013. Aaron Derner, Garrett Zans, Mike Seas and Mike Banks finished as UW's top four in all six meets in 2012, while Zans, Derner, Banks and Amos Bowen have claimed UW's top four in all three meets this season.
As expected, freshmen have been a big part of the Cowgirls' success early this season. Freshmen Megan Brunette and Ali Walker have finished in Wyoming's top five in all three races so far in 2013, including Brunette being UW's second runner on two occasions.
Mind the Gap
The Wyoming men had just a 22-second gap from their first to fifth runner at the Roy Griak Invite on Sept. 28. It was the first time UW had a gap under 30 seconds since the 2005 NCAA Mountain Regional Meet, when the Cowboys posted a 25-second gap.
Page and Zans Collect Mountain West Honors
For their efforts on Sept. 13, Page and Zans were named the Mountain West Cross Country Athletes of the Week, the conference office announced on Sept. 17. It was the first time ever UW had won both MW female and male accolades in one week, as Page and Zans earned the honor for the first time in their careers.
Page topped 52 fellow competitors at the Utah Valley Invitational in Orem, Utah, to claim her second career individual title and pace the Cowgirls to their first team title since 2004. The junior finished the 5-kilometer course in 18:03 for her first win since last season's Montana State Invitational. Her time is the second-fastest 5k in the MW this season.
At the time, she has led Wyoming in each of the last eight cross country races, including all of the 2012 season. UW's second finisher had come within Page just three times during that stretch, including the closest of 21 seconds by Audra DeStefano at Utah Valley. Page was the first Cowgirl to earn MW Cross Country AOW since Christine Nelson on Sept. 21, 2010.
Zans claimed the men's individual title in Orem, as his first collegiate win in cross country helped the Cowboys win the team title as well. The senior bested the 46-person field over the 6-kilometer course in a time of 18:08 for the first individual title for a Cowboy since Mark Korir won the 2008 MW Championships. Zans' time was the fourth fastest by a UW runner over a 6-kilometer course since 1990 and was the fastest 6k in the MW at the time.
Wyoming's team title was its first since the first meet of the 2011 season. In 20 career races, Zans had finished in UW's top three in all but one race and had finished in UW's top two in 15. He had led Wyoming in six races during his career. Zans was the first Cowboy to earn MW Cross Country AOW since Mark Korir on Oct. 21, 2008.
Page is a Frontrunner
In her third season at Wyoming, junior Holly Page continues to be one of the top female distance runners. Page has paced the Cowgirls in the last nine cross country races, including all of the 2012 season, and has won two meets along the way. UW's second finisher has come within 30 seconds of Page just four times, including the closest of 10 seconds by Megan Brunette at the Roy Griak Invite on Sept. 28. Page finished as UW's second runner in her first three career races in 2011 as a freshman.
Zans Always Near the Front
Senior Garrett Zans has consistently been one of Wyoming's top distances runners in his four seasons with the program. In 21 career races, he has finished in UW's top three in all but one race and he has finished in UW's top two in 16. He has led the Cowboys in seven races during his career, including winning the individual title at the Utah Valley Invite on Sept. 13.
From All Corners
The 2013 Cowboy team features runners from all corners of the globe. Two Cowboys are foreign (New Zealand and Kenya), to go with domestic Cowboys from Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Six Cowboys on the 11-man squad are from Wyoming.
In stark contrast to the men's team, the 2013 Cowgirls feature several runners competing for their home state. Out of 20 student-athletes, 11 hail from Wyoming, while four are from neighboring states Colorado and Utah. Four runners on the 2013 roster are from Laramie.
Wyoming starts postseason competition at the 2013 Mountain West Championships, hosted by Air Force on Nov. 1 in Colorado Springs, Colo.