Cross Country Faces Several Ranked Programs at Friday's NCAA Mountain Regional

Nov. 13, 2013


Meet Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Video PreviewThe University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams are preparing for their toughest meet of the 2013 season at the NCAA Mountain Regional Championship on Friday in Ogden, Utah. The Cowboys race 10 kilometers at noon MT, while the Cowgirls run 6 kilometers at 1:15 p.m. MT on Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course.

Hosted by Weber State, 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 throughout the country automatically qualify, while 13 at-large teams are selected based on meet results throughout the year. In each region, the top four finishers not on qualifying teams advance to the national meet as individual runners. The Mountain Regional is made up of 19 schools that are at least 3,000 feet in elevation.

"I feel good about where both teams are at," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "This is the meet that we train for. We ran well at conference and training has been going well. The men need to finish sixth if they want to have a chance to go. There are seven ranked teams on their side, so knocking one of them off would really help our chances. The women's side isn't quite as strong, but there is a lot more parity. The teams in sixth through 12th could vary week to week. Realistically, I think our women can finish in the top 10."

The men's side of the Mountain Regional features seven teams ranked in the nation's top 30, including three in the top five. Northern Arizona, ranked second, won the meet last season, but will be challenged by Colorado, currently ranked first. The women's side has two ranked squads in No. 8 New Mexico and No. 10 Colorado. Weber State won the women's title last season.

"Historically, the Mountain Region has been known as one of the premier regions in the nation," Berryhill said. "Each school has done a great job of building their program and training their athletes. It makes it tough to qualify for the national meet, but it's good notoriety."

Last Time Out: Page, Zans and Kesy Collect MW Honors at Conference Meet
Senior Garrett Zans and junior Holly Page earned All-Mountain West First Team honors and Michael Kesy was tabbed the MW Freshman of the Year to pace the University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams to fifth and sixth, respectively, at the 2013 Mountain West Championships on Nov. 1 at the Eisenhower Golf Club. Page became the first two-time All-MW First Team Cowgirl ever by finishing sixth, while Zans notched the highest individual finish by a Cowboy since 2008 by placing fifth.

Zans covered the 8-kilometer course in 24:27 for the ninth fastest time by a Cowboy since 1990, as his fifth-place finish was the highest since Mark Korir won the meet in 2008. He helped the Cowboys finish with 106 points, just five shy of No. 20 Boise State, as the top four men's teams at the meet were all ranked in the nation's top 30. Ninth-ranked New Mexico took home the team title with 32 points.

"It's bittersweet," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "We were five points away from beating one of the top 20 teams in the nation, but in life and in sports you have to be opportunistic. We had an opportunity today and I wish we would have taken advantage of it. Garrett ran a great race, though, for fifth. He was side-by-side with All-Americans, which does a lot for his confidence. If he qualifies as an individual for the national meet, he'll have to beat some All-Americans and he proved today that he can do that."

Senior Mike Banks and sophomore Aaron Derner both crossed the line in 24:44 for 18th and 19th place, while sophomore Amos Bowen finished 29th in 25:14 and freshman Michael Kesy rounded out UW's scorers in 25:26 for 35th. Kesy, a walk-on from Cheyenne East High School, is the first Cowboy to earn MW Freshman of the Year since Zans in 2010.

Page made Wyoming history with her sixth-place finish in 21:49 on the 6-kilometer course, as she became the first Cowgirl ever to earn two All-MW First Team honors. Her fourth-place finish last season was the highest ever by a Cowgirl. Sophomore Audra DeStefano crossed the line in 22:34 for 24th and was followed by junior Devon England in 32nd at 22:51. Freshman Megan Brunette placed 44th in 23:10 and senior Emily Swigart rounded out UW's scorers in 46th at 23:16. The Cowgirls tallied 143 points for sixth, as the New Mexico women, also ranked ninth in the nation, won with 31 points.

"Holly got sixth in a women's race that had a lot of All-Americans in it," Berryhill said. "To see her run that well, just like she did last year, was really encouraging. It says a lot about her as a competitor to earn first team for a second-straight year. She is steady and focused and she'll be right back here next year to get her third."

2013 MW Championships
Men's Team Results
1. No. 9 New Mexico - 32
2. No. 22 Colorado State - 51
3. No. 28 Air Force - 80
4. No. 20 Boise State - 101
5. Wyoming - 106
6. Utah State - 130
7. Fresno State - 222
8. San Jose State - 248

Wyoming Men Individual Results
5. Garrett Zans - 24:27
18. Mike Banks - 24:44
19. Aaron Derner - 24:44
29. Amos Bowen - 25:14
35. Michael Kesy - 25:26
40. Dylan Morin - 25:41
50. Mike Seas - 26:15
53. Michael Rotellini - 26:43

Women's Team Results
1. No. 9 New Mexico - 31
2. No. 25 Boise State - 60
3. Colorado State - 117
4. Air Force - 118
5. Utah State - 121
6. Wyoming - 143
7. Nevada - 162
8. Fresno State - 201
9. San Diego State - 274
10. San Jose State - 297
11. UNLV - 330

Wyoming Women Individual Results
6. Holly Page - 21:49
24. Audra DeStefano - 22:34
32. Devon England - 22:51
44. Megan Brunette - 23:10
46. Emily Swigart - 23:16
68. Cassidy Meade - 24:17
70. Ali Walker - 24:26
73. Mary Kozlowski - 24:35

MW Men's Student-Athlete of the Year: Isaiah Bragg, Air Force
MW Men's Coach of the Year: Joe Franklin, New Mexico
MW Men's Freshman of the Year: Michael Kesy, Wyoming

MW Women's Student-Athlete of the Year: Emma Bates, Boise State
MW Women's Coach of the Year: Joe Franklin, New Mexico
MW Freshman of the Year: Sanne Holland, Colorado State

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 occassions, including the last time in 2010, while their 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 Fagely has the best individual finish with a 10th-place showing in 2007. The Cowboys finished 13th in the 18-team field last season, while the Cowgirls were 14th of 20.

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 five meets this season.

Youth Movement
As expected, freshmen have been a big part of the Cowgirls' success this season. Freshmen Megan Brunette and Ali Walker have finished in Wyoming's top five in four of five races so far in 2013, including Brunette being UW's second runner on two occasions.

Fast Times at Riverside
All 16 Wyoming athletes that ran at the Highlander Invite on Oct. 19 ran season-best times, including two Cowboys and four Cowgirls by more than 50 seconds. Seven Cowboys ran times in the 6 kilometer that qualified for UW's fastest times since 1990, including the fastest by Garrett Zans in 17:50. Three Cowgirls posted times in UW's fastest 5 kilometers since 1990, including the fastest by Holly Page in 17:18.

Mind the Gap
The Wyoming men had just a 19-second gap from their first to fifth runner at the Highlander Invite on Oct. 19. It was the second time this season UW had a gap less than 30 seconds, as the other was 22 seconds at the Roy Griak Invite on Sept. 28. UW's previous gap under 30 seconds was at 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.

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.

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 11 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 five 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 23 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 18. He has led the Cowboys in nine races during his career, including winning the individual title at the Utah Valley Invite on Sept. 13.

Next Up
The NCAA Championships will be hosted by Indiana State on Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind.