Cross Country

UW Harriers Ready for Test at National Meet

Mike Banks

Mike Banks

Sept. 26, 2013

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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After a weekend off, the University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams return to action at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Minneapolis. The Cowboys race an 8-kilometer course at 11:20 a.m. MT, while the Cowgirls run 6 kilometers at 12:10 p.m. MT.

Wyoming was dominant in its last outing, taking both team and both individual titles at the Utah Valley Invitational on Sept. 13. Senior Garrett Zans and junior Holly Page paced the Cowboys and Cowgirls, respectively, en route to earning both Mountain West Athlete of the Week honors. It was the first time in program history Wyoming swept both weekly awards.

"The Roy Griak will be a good way to judge ourselves against some of the nation's best programs," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "Several teams that are ranked in the nation's top 30 will be there, including a couple teams from our mountain region, so it will be good to see where we are at. We want to run well at this meet, but keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to race our best for two weekends in November."

Last Time Out: Wyoming Sweeps Individual and Team Titles at Utah Valley
Zans and Page swept the individual races to help the University of Wyoming men's and women's cross country teams capture both team titles at the Utah Valley Invitational on Sept. 13 at Lakeside Park. The last time Wyoming won both the men's and women's race at one meet was Mark Korir and Emily Higgins at the 2008 Montana State Invitational.

"Both our men and women showed a lot of improvement from last weekend's races and to get better every week is really our goal throughout the whole season," Berryhill said. "This race was extra special for the women because they had a subpar race last time out and then came back and ran pretty well."

Zans brought home the 46-person field in 18:08 to claim the first individual title for a Cowboy since Korir won the 2008 Mountain West Championships. Zans' time was the fourth fastest by a UW runner over a 6-kilometer course since 1990. Fellow senior Mike Banks was runner-up in 18:22, while sophomore Aaron Derner gave UW three runners in the top four with a fourth-place finish in 18:31. Sophomore Amos Bowen crossed the line at 18:50 for 11th and freshman Michael Rotellini rounded out UW's scorers in 13th at 18:52. The men's race was shortened from 4 miles to 6 kilometers due to wet conditions on the course, but that didn't stop the Cowboys from claiming their first team title since the opening meet of the 2011 season.

On the women's side, Page topped 52 fellow competitors over the 5-kilometer course in 18:03 to claim her second career individual title. She also won last season's Montana State Invitational. Sophomore Audra DeStefano was runner-up at 18:24, while freshman Megan Brunette placed fifth in 18:39 to help the women place three runners in the top five as well. Junior Devon England was 15th in 19:06 and freshman Ali Walker rounded out UW's scorers at 19:16 for 21st. The team title for the Cowgirls was their first since 2004.

"Wins for Garrett [Zans] and Holly [Page] today were huge for their confidence level," Berryhill said. "Especially for Garrett since it was his first at the collegiate level. He can really translate that into some of the bigger meets we travel to now. Audra [DeStefano] and Megan [Brunette] were really the heart and soul of the women's team. They worked together the whole race and it was great to see them run with such confidence. Mike [Banks] and Aaron [Derner] really did the same on the men's side."

2013 Utah Valley Invite
Men's Team Results
1. Wyoming - 31
2. Utah Valley - 34
3. Southern Utah - 60
4. Utah State - 102

Wyoming Men Individual Results
1. Garrett Zans - 18:08
2. Mike Banks - 18:22
4. Aaron Derner - 18:31
11. Amos Bowen - 18:50
13. Michael Rotellini - 18:52
20. Dylan Morin - 19:07
24. Mike Seas - 19:17
27. Michael Kesy - 19:25
41. Bryce Snow - 21:01

Women's Team Results
1. Wyoming - 40
2. Utah Valley - 44
3. Utah State - 51
4. Southern Utah - 75

Wyoming Women Individual Results
1. Holly Page - 18:03
2. Audra DeStefano - 18:24
5. Megan Brunette - 18:39
15. Devon England - 19:06
21. Ali Walker - 19:16
23. Emily Swigart - 19:26
26. Mary Kozlowski - 19:29
33. Cassidy Meade - 19:55

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 is the first time ever UW has 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.

She has now led Wyoming in each of the last eight cross country races, including all of the 2012 season. UW's second finisher has come within Page just three times during that stretch, including the closest of 21 seconds by Audra DeStefano at Utah Valley. Page is 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 is the fastest 6k in the MW this season.

Wyoming's team title was its first since the first meet of the 2011 season. In 20 career races, Zans has finished in UW's top three in all but one race and has finished in UW's top two in 15. He has led Wyoming in six races during his career. Zans is 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 eight 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 three times, including the closest of 21 seconds by Audra DeStefano at the Utah Valley Invite on Sept. 13. 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 20 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 15. He has led the Cowboys in six races during his career, including winning the individual title at the Utah Valley Invite on Sept. 13.

Mind the Gap
The Wyoming men had just a 32-second gap from their first to fifth runner at the CSU Invite on Sept. 6. The last time the Cowboys had a smaller gap was 25 seconds at the 2005 NCAA Mountain Regional Meet, where they finished 11th.

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.

Local Flavor
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.

Next Up
Wyoming continues the 2013 season at UC Riverside's Highlander Invite on Oct. 19 in Riverside, Calif.

 

 

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