Wyoming Cross Country Gears Up for MWC Championships

Oct. 26, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

The University of Wyoming cross country teams will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah for the Mountain West Conference Championships on Saturday. Both teams have shown improvement over the course of the season and are eagerly awaiting their chance to compete. The women will be running a 6000-meter course while the men will be running 8000-meters.

While both teams have competed against several MWC programs, this meet does mark the first time this season that UW will face BYU, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU and UNLV.

The Cowgirls are led by three women who hold top-20 times on a 6000-meter course in the MWC. They are junior Gretchen Johnson, and freshmen Emily Higgins and Brenna Dooley. Johnson's 12th fastest time of (21:48.30) is closely followed by Higgins' and Dooley's 16th and 20th fastest times of (22:00.20) and (22:23.20) respectively. Don't count out junior Nikki Peterson, who has seen limited action this season, but will be a strong contributor as she joins senior Tanya Kienlen, sophomore Lauren Furtney and freshman Erin Heffron for the fourth and fifth scoring positions for the Cowgirls.

For the men, the Pokes will face the same adversity as the women on Saturday having only competed against Air Force, Colorado State and Utah this season.

For most of the season, the Cowboys were led by senior Philemon Tanui, but he was forced to sit out the last two races due to minor injuries. However, sophomore Mark Korir was able to make his first appearance at the Rocky Mountain Shootout on September 30, in Boulder, Colo. where he finished in first place out of 153 runners. He then continued that success two weeks later when he finished fifth out of 288 runners at the Chili Pepper Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. on October 14. Korir's time of (24:51.00) at the Rocky Mountain Shootout boasts as the 14th fastest time in the MWC on the 8000-meter course. He is followed by Tanui, who's time of (25:28.90) ranks as the 24th fastest time on an 8000-meter course. Look for these two to be the front runners for the Cowboys on Saturday as they are followed by senior Chris Schabron and sophomores Michael Huntington, Shadrack Too and Brett Schuler, who will all be fighting to fill the third, fourth and fifith scoring positions for the men.

Freshman Dustin Gibson will be making his first MWC Championships appearance as he and sophomore Eric Love round out the men's team.

The championships will be held at the Rose Park Golf Course with the women's race beginning at 10 a.m. followed by the men's race at 11 a.m. For more information please visit the Utah Athletics' website at www.utahutes.com.