Great Britain's Michael Vennard Making Impact for Boise State Broncos Cross Country Team

With teammate Andrew Rafla nursing an injury, Michael Vennard has picked up the banner for the Bronco cross country team.

When Michael Vennard decided to go away from home to college, he boarded a 14-hour flight from his home in Cheshire, England to Boise, Idaho, a distance of 4,676 miles (7,525 kilometers).

(Video provided by Doc Barnes)

Vennard chose Boise State, primarily because of its up-and-coming track and cross country programs led by coach Corey Ihmels.  Vennard had heard of Ihmels when he was at Iowa State, leading the Cyclones to two Big 12 championships and six finishes in the top 10 of the NCAA National Cross Country Championships.  When Ihmels took over as head coach at Boise State two years ago, Vennard knew where he wanted to be.

(Video provided by Doc Barnes)

Michael finished third (with a time of 24:58) at the Roy Griak Invitational on September 26, the top Bronco finisher behind two Colorado State runners (Jefferson Abbey, with a time of 24:52, and Jerrell Mock (24:56)).  Coach Ihmels was happy with Vennard's performance, saying, "I thought he controlled his run really well throughout the race."  The experience should be a big boost to Vennard as he gets set to run in the Mountain West Cross Country Championships on October 30.  

Vennard finished 14th last year at last year's conference championships in Fresno, California, navigating the 8-kilometer course in 24 minutes and 14 seconds.

As well as Michael has done in cross country, he is also looking forward to the opening of the track season.  Vennard finished fifth in the 3,000 meters (8:18.70) and sixth in the 5,000 (14:41.20) at the Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships, and fourth in the 10,000 (29:55.09) and 12th in the 5,000 (14:42.35).  Vennard advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Round in the 5,000 meters and ran a 14:38.73 for 32nd place.

Last summer, Vennard was the #1-ranked U20 steeplechase runner in England, having captured titles at the England Athletics U20 Championships and the British Athletics League Premiership.

(Video provided by Doc Barnes)

Besides the societal and cultural differences between the United States and Great Britain, Vennard has gotten to experience a winter in Boise.  Michael notices they are colder than his native country, but, like most Boiseans, knows they're not that bad.


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