Cross Country Squads Seek NCAA Bids at Friday's Mountain Regional

Nov. 12, 2014

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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The University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams run the most important race of the 2014 season on Friday at the NCAA Mountain Regional Championship in Albuquerque, N.M. The Cowgirls compete over 6 kilometers at noon MT, while the Cowboys race over 10 kilometers at 1 p.m. on the UNM North Golf Course.

Hosted by the University of New Mexico, the Mountain Regional meet determines which teams and individuals will receive bids to the NCAA Championship meet. The top two teams from each of the nine regions in the country automatically qualify, while 13 at-large teams are selected based on meet results throughout the season. In the region, the top two female and top two male finishers not on qualifying teams advance to the national meet as individual competitors. The Mountain Regional is comprised of 19 schools that are at least 3,000 feet in elevation. The men's side of the Mountain Regional features six teams ranked in the nation's top 30, while the women's race has two ranked squads.

"On the women's side, we want to go in there and position ourselves in a place that will give us an opportunity to make the NCAA Championships," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "In my opinion, that will have to be a top-three finish. Holly [Page] has to continue to be the leader she has been and our 4-5 runners need to be a little better if we want to be in that third spot. We need to have our fifth runner finish closer to Holly. On the men's side, Amos [Bowen] has been training well all year and, if he runs like he did at Washington, he'll be right there to get one of the individual spot. He was sick at conference and still ran pretty well, so hopefully he can rebound with a strong race on Friday."

Wyoming History at the NCAA Mountain Regional
The Wyoming men's highest team finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional meet is sixth place on three occasions, including the last time in 2010, while the lowest point total is 182 in 2008. Mark Korir owns the highest individual placing by a Cowboy, with third in 2006 and 2008. The Cowgirls finished fifth in 2004 for their highest team placing ever, and totaled 154 points, their lowest ever, the same year. Gretchen Johnson has the best individual finish with a 10th-place showing in 2007. Last season the Cowboys finished eighth at the meet, while the Cowgirls were 13th. Garrett Zans and Holly Page both earned All-Region honors, while Zans claimed an individual bid to the NCAA Championships with his finish. Page was two places shy.

Last Time Out: Page Paces Cowgirls to Historic Performance at MW Meet
Senior Holly Page placed third individually to pace the University of Wyoming women's cross country to a historic third in the team standings at the 2014 Mountain West Championships in Fresno, Calif., on Oct. 31. Page's finish garnered her a third All-MW First Team accolade and was the highest placing ever by a Cowgirl at the MW meet, while third in the team race with 79 points tied the squad's best team finish and was UW's lowest point total in MW history.

"Holly was amazing," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "She beat multiple All-Americans out there and the two girls she lost to are an NCAA champion and NCAA runner-up in track. Holly looked very composed and within herself through the whole race and I couldn't be prouder of her. To go from sixth last year as a team to third this year, she is a big reason behind that move."

Page traversed the 6-kilometer course in 20:18, the fastest time by a Cowgirl since 1990, to pace Wyoming for an amazing 17th-straight race. She is the only Cowgirl ever to collect more than one All-MW First Team honor. She was followed by freshman Kerry White in 20:53 for 11th place to earn All-MW Second Team, just the second time in program history the Cowgirls have had multiple All-MW honorees. Junior Audra DeStefano was 15th in 21:03, while sophomore Ali Walker placed 25th in 21:27 and sophomore Megan Brunette rounded out UW's scorers in 27th at 21:33. No. 10 New Mexico won the women's team title with 33 points, while No. 23 Boise State was second at 58. Wyoming also finished third at the 2004 MW Championships with a then-best 97 points.

"I thought our girls ran really well as a team," Berryhill said. "To go into this conference and get third is an achievement. Two top-25 teams finished ahead of us, so we are right on the heels of two of the best programs in the nation. I feel like the girls executed the race plan very well. To tie for the highest finish in program history is a huge step forward for the program."

On the men's side, junior Amos Bowen placed ninth in 23:51 over 8 kilometers to earn All-MW Second Team and help the Cowboys place sixth with 160 points. No. 18 New Mexico won the men's team race with 26 points, while Air Force edged No. 25 Colorado State by three points for second with 73 points. Junior Dylan Morin followed Bowen in 23rd place at 24:36, while junior Aaron Derner battled through an illness to place 44th in 25:03. Sophomore Michael Kesy ran 25:06 for 46th and junior Mike Seas rounded out UW's scorers in 25:16 for 49th.

2014 MW Championships
Men's Team Results
1. No. 18 New Mexico - 26
2. Air Force - 73
3. No. 25 Colorado State - 76
4. Boise State - 79
5. Utah State - 152
6. Wyoming - 160
7. Fresno State - 181
8. San Jose State - 197

Wyoming Men Individual Results
9. Amos Bowen - 23:51
23. Dylan Morin - 24:26
44. Aaron Derner - 25:03
46. Michael Kesy - 25:06
49. Mike Seas - 25:16
58. Jonah Henry - 25:35
59. Alex Pawlak - 25:44
63. Garrett Westlake - 26:38

Women's Team Results
1. No. 10 New Mexico - 33
2. No. 23 Boise State - 58
3. Wyoming - 79
4. Colorado State - 103
5. Air Force - 141
6. Nevada - 163
7. Utah State - 180
8. Fresno State - 225
9. UNLV - 245
10. San Diego State - 276
11. San Jose State - 295

Wyoming Women Individual Results
3. Holly Page - 20:18
11. Kerry White - 20:53
15. Audra DeStefano - 21:03
25. Ali Walker - 21:27
27. Megan Brunette - 21:33
50. Devon England - 22:20
56. Lauren Hamilton - 22:23
62. Quinn DeStefano - 22:37
73. Cassidy Meade - 22:59

Success Under Berryhill
The Wyoming cross country teams have continued to build on their success under head coach Bryan Berryhill this season. At Oct. 4's Washington Invite, the Cowgirls beat a ranked opponent for the first time since the current version of the coaches poll began in 1995, as UW took down No. 13 Villanova. Individually, Holly Page ran the fastest 6 kilometers by a Cowgirl since 1990, while Amos Bowen ran the fastest 8 kilometers by a Cowboy since 2007.

Previously, the Cowboys and Cowgirls took home both team titles at the Montana State Invite on Sept. 20, in what is becoming a trend. The two squads have combined for nine team titles in three seasons under Berryhill and also earned four individual victories.

Holly Out Front
Senior Holly Page has picked up right where she left off last season. The senior placed third overall at MW Championships to finish as Wyoming's top runner for the 17th-consecutive race. She has paced the Cowgirls all of the 2012 and 2013 seasons and has won three meets along the way. UW's second finisher has come within 30 seconds of Page just nine 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 as a freshman in 2011.

Next Up
The NCAA Championship will be hosted by Indiana State on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Ind.