WAC Cross Country Championships Preview

The cross country teams in the WAC compete today in the conference championships in Moscow. Here is a brief preview.

Boise State closes out its cross country season today at the Western Athletic Conference Championships in Moscow, Idaho. Competition begins at Virgil Phillips Farm County Park with the women setting out on the course at 10 this morning and the men beginning at 10:45.

League coaches believe the Utah State men will win their sixth consecutive league championship while host Idaho is the choice to win the women's title. The Aggie men received six first-place votes and 36 points. Boise State finished second in the poll with 31 points while Fresno State was third with 23 points. Idaho came in fourth with 22 points, followed by New Mexico State (20), San Jose State (10) and Louisiana Tech (7).

Idaho's women's team was the clear choice of the coaches with six first-place votes and 62 points. Defending champion New Mexico State garnered two first-place votes and 57 points. Utah State came in third with 52 points, followed by Fresno State (40), Boise State (37), Nevada (33), Hawai'i (22), San Jose State (18) and Louisiana Tech(8). TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES

Boise State Broncos

Boise State is coming off a third place finish for both the men and women at the College of Idaho Coyote Invitation. Senior Scott Foley led the men with a 17th-place finish as he covered the 8K course in a time of 26:43. Jeff Howard has a top time of 23:54.4 this year at the Santa Clara Invitational. Drew o'donoghue-McDonald ran a 24:26.7 in that race. Freshman Allan Schroeder (24:44.0), senior Scott Foley (24:51.0), junior Brian Pierre (24:59.1) and senior Brad Bogdan (25:07.5) add good support.

Emma Bates paces the Bronco women with a time of 17:23.3 in the Santa Clara Invitational 5k. Freshman Tessa Murray was right behind Bates in Santa Clara with a time of 17:40.8. Freshmen Sarah Bisterfeldt (18:15.5), Lauren Lucas (18:27.9 at Santa Clara), Alyssa Border (18:28.2) and Kate Jette (18:58.60) provide good youthful experience. Senior Carly Gerard (18:26.6) looks to close her career out with a great finish and Piper Delaney has a best time of 19:42.33.

Fresno State Bulldogs

Fresno State finished seventh at the Santa Clara Invitational. Freshman Olivier Collin had a very strong performance finishing sixth overall for the men with a time of 24:02 Junior Eric Battles ran 24:42.4 at Santa Clara, while freshman Oliver Bernard ran the 8K course in 25:02.8, Danny Vartanian was right behind in 25:04.8 and sophomore Michael Jamieson was clocked in 25:10.8

Sophomore Marrijtje Molenhuis, who recorded a time of 17:41.9 in the 5K race, paced the Lady Bulldogs. Freshman Saylah Barserian (17:48.9) and junior Pamela Cruz (17:50.5) were right behind Molenhuis in Santa Clara. Freshman Carina Mendoza (18:14), sophomore Chloe Allen (18:17.1) should be the fifth finisher for Fresno.

Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine

UH's top performer in the 5K has been senior Ashley Aitken, who ran a 17:10.7 at the Santa Clara Invitational. Freshman Kevyn Murphy is Hawai'i's next best hope with a top time of 18:13.8, also at Santa Clara. Senior Dominique Miller, who placed third overall at the Hawai'i Pacific Invitational and has a top time of 18:48.69 at the Willamette Invitational. Freshman Ali Williams (18:36) has be3en impressive and sophomore Ashlee Jimenez (19:15.79) hope to score points Saturday.

Idaho Vandals

Barry Britt has the top time for the Vandals this season (24:12.58) while Markos Geiger (24:28.55) will be another top finisher. Alex Brekke is another to watch with a top time of 25:24.54 while Michael Armon has a top time of 25:32.76. Jeremiah Dubie (25:13.44) and Jeff Osborn (25:26.26) look to score on their home course.

Julia Veseth was second at the All-Idaho Cup with a time of 18:09.12. Lauren Schaffer (18:35.78), Anna Kalbrener (18:38.15), Erica Digby (18:43.44) and Hannah Kiser (18:45.84) will run in a bunch and do well.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Sophomore Matt Wolfe has led the Tech team this season, turning in an 8K team of 25:51. Junior Josh Slocum (26:18) and senior Steven Cortez (26:32) are the next best for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Jeff Boudreaux (26:57) and junior Jack Ramstad (27:02) will try to score points for Tech.

The Louisiana Tech's women's team completed their final tune up of the regular season at the Demon Invitational in Natchitoches, Louisiana on October 22. The Lady Techsters finished sixth of eight teams. Sophomore Chelsea Dressell led the team with a time of 21:15.36 on the 4,828-meter course. Freshmen Mary Kate Hays (21:34.63) and Dana Ramstad were next at 21:34.68 and 2:17.70 respectively. Junior Dominique Crosby (24:33.43) and freshman Taneka Henderson (25:06.08) also completed the course.

Nevada Wolf Pack

Sophomore Sam Diaz is one of the conference's top runners, turning in a 17:11.8 at the Santa Clara Invitational to finish fifth at that event. That time was the third best in school history. Junior Jennifer McEntire (18:04.7) is too far back to give the Pack a great chance at the team title. Sophomore Gloria Sosa (18:28.9), Nicole Painter (18:44) and Janet Martinez (18:57) complete the Pack team.

New Mexico State Aggies

Junior Ian Rybalid (25:01) and Kevin Taft (25:07) will pace the Aggie effort this weekend. Anthony Ellis (25:16), Jonah Rybalid (25:16) and Terry Williams (25:17) round out a balanced team.

Camille Schultz is the star of the Aggie women. Schultz has covered the 5K cross country course in 17:32.7 this year. Chelsa McDonnell has the next best time on the team, all the way back at 18:31.7 while Samantha Thompson has a time of 18:37.7. Jenna Padilla (18:52.0) and Samantha Hamilton (19:11.2) also look to score today.

San Jose State Spartans

Alfredo Coronado should be one of the top finishers in the WAC Championship. Coronado ran a 24:24.2 in the UC-Riverside Invitational and is ready to challenge the leaders. Irvin Garcia turned in a 25:37.2 at the Bronco Invite while Sterling Granger was clocked in 25:39.48 at the Memphis Invitational. Kellen Hole (25:54.18) and Alan Shelton (26:20.0) round out the Spartan team.

The San Jose women finished eighth at the Santa Clara Invitational. Elizabeth Raymond finished the course in 18:20 while Kate Lambdin ran it in 18:39. Senior Lauren Dubay has a top time of 19:16 this season.

Utah State Aggies

Utah State competed in the NCAA Pre-National Invitational, which was hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute, Indiana. Junior Brian McKenna led the Aggie men as he finished in 34th place with a time of 24:21, leading the team to a 22nd-place overall finish. McKenna has the top time on the team with a 10th place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational (24:09).

As usual, McKenna will get great help from junior Daniel Howell (24:29), sophomore Aaron Clements (25:22) and junior Eric Larson (25:41). Junior Hunter Nelson (25:48 and freshman Jacob Barton (25:57) round out the Aggie team.

Jessie Chugg has led the USU women this season in three races with a top time of 18:03. Ruth Hilton and Kim Quinn both have times of 18:07. Alex Litzsinger (18:29) and Kaylee Campbell should both score points today for the Aggies.

Top Times in the WAC:

Men:

1. Jeff Howard, Boise State 23:54

2. Olivier Collin, Fresno State 24:02

3. Brian McKenna, Utah State 24:09

4. Barry Britt, Idaho 24:12.58

5. Alfredo Coronado 24:24.2

6. Drew o'donoghue-McDonald, Boise State 24:26.7

7. Markos Geiger, Idaho 24:28.55

8. Daniel Howell, Utah State 24:29

9. Eric Battles, Fresno State 24:42.4

10. Allan Schroeder, Boise State 24:44.0

Women:

1. Ashley Aitken, Hawai'i 17:10.7

2. Sam Diaz, Nevada 17:11.8

3. Emma Bates, Boise State 17:23.3

4. Tessa Murray, Boise State 17:40.8

5. Marrijtje Molenuis, Fresno State 17:41.9

6. Saylah Barserian, Fresno State 17:48.9

7. Pamela Cruz, Fresno State 17:50.5

8. Julia Veseth, Idaho 18:09.12

9. Kevyn Murphy, Hawai'i 18:13.8

10. Carina Mendoza, Fresno State 18:14.7 5.


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