Cross Country Faces Several Ranked Programs at Friday's NCAA Mountain Regional
Nov. 13, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Meet Notes | Video Preview The 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
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
Wyoming Men Individual Results
Women's Team Results
Wyoming Women Individual Results
MW Men's Student-Athlete of the Year: Isaiah Bragg, Air Force
MW Women's Student-Athlete of the Year: Emma Bates, Boise State
Wyoming History at the NCAA Mountain Regional
The Same Four
Fast Times at Riverside
Mind the Gap
Page and Zans Collect Mountain West Honors
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
Zans Always Near the Front