In the final year of being in the WAC, the Boise State cross country team would like to go out on top. What are their chances? This article previews the seven conference teams.
is the preseason outlook for WAC cross country teams.
Bronco coach Brad Wick guided the team to a third-place finish in the Western
Athletic Conference last season and 15ththat the NCAA District
dominated last year's WAC Championships for their fifth consecutive conference
Steve Strickland was the only senior in the top 10 at the WAC Cross Country
great Frank Sanders and
Jason Holt were the only seniors in the second 10.
the battle continues among the tremendous number of underclassmen as they have
another year's experience.
lost second place by just 16.50 total seconds to
With Sanders gone, runner-up is the Broncos to claim.
However, until they can move up to
level, they will not be the force they could be.
freshman class at
was as solid as it ever has been. Kevin
Rosaaen finished fifth last season with a time of 26:25.5.
product was the top freshman in the WAC Championships by 27 seconds which earned
him not only WAC Freshman of the Year but All-WAC honors as well.
Rosaaen was also 25 seconds behind WAC Champion Brian McKenna of
While it is likely he can't make up that much ground, I would not put
it past him.
fellow frosh Jeff Howard finished 14th last year (27:04.1.
this year, both he and junior Sawyer Bosch (11th with a time of 26:48.0) must
finish in or near the top 10. Bosch
was twice named WAC Athlete of the Week by the league office.
He was third at the Bob Firman Invitational (25:44.72) and at the Charles
Bowles Invitation (24:13.72).
placed six in the top 12 last season and that is a logjam that the Broncos
simply must break up.
Higgs (20th—27:25.1) and Scott Foley (21st—27:29.5) are back for their
senior year and must provide leadership by getting in or near that top 15 as
well. Higgs was another WAC Athlete
of the Week honoree last season after winning the 5K Roger Curran Invitational
with a time of 18:14.23. For the
Broncos to strongly contend, the task for Higgs and Foley is clear—defeat Utah
State's Chio Lopez and Eric Larson, who were 18thtand 19th,
respectively. If they can do that,
has strong championship hopes. Zach
Wiles, 25th last season (27:53.5) is another member of the prized
freshman class and as one of the runners with the least experience, can improve
the most. Wiles needs a Top 20
finish which means he needs to knock about 45 seconds off his time.
Brian Pierre (30th last year at 28:04.4) also needs to better his time by nearly
a minute or the Broncos need to find another that can be near the top 20.
are all tall orders but represent the task ahead for
they are to unseat
Hennekam is one team member that Wick is hoping can improve this fall.
Junior Cassidy Bigsby is another and local product Austin Edwards (from
) has a year's
collegiate experience under his belt. In
addition, junior Dusty Klein and sophomore Ethan Slight came over from the track
team to help the cross country team last year.
led by Gregg Gensel, who hits a milestone this fall.
Gensel enters his 30th season in
23 of those as head coach. Gensel,
who also leads the successful Aggie track team, has guided his teams to 28
bleeds blue, having graduated from
1981 and having either been a student, an assistant coach or head coach at the
school for the past 33 years.
mentioned above, the Aggies placed six runners in the top 12 at last year's
WAC Championships. Just two of them,
seniors Steve Strickland and Steve Atkinson, are gone from the conference
championship squad. Junior Brian
McKenna paced all WAC athletes with a time of 26:00.1 on the eight-kilometer
course. Sophomore Daniel Howell
(26:04.4) was third and junior Nick Bolinder (26:36.8) captured seventh.
followed its WAC Championship with a seventh-place performance at the NCAA
Mountain Regional. McKenna paced the
Aggies with a 19th-place finish over 10 kilometers (30:36.8) while
Bolinder was 23rd (31:07.0) and Howell 27th (31:12.7). In
addition, McKenna earned a spot at the NCAA National Championships and placed
69thtout of 250 runners on the 10K course with a time of 30:36.8.
is an outstanding trio to have back but it also means that one-third of that
group around the top 10 is gone. Lopez
and Larson will battle
Higgs and Foley in a battle of four seniors that likely will determine this
year's WAC champion. Senior
Casey Snider (23rdrlast year with a time of 27:35.9) is the X-factor
that could also put the Aggies over the top once again.
If he can sneak into that top 15, Snider would score the points necessary
for a repeat.
Hastings and Hunter Nelson are back for their senior seasons.
Junior Aaron Clements hopes to show continued improvement. Sophomores
Morgan Empey, Devin Lang, Kyle Moffet, Briton Page, Devin Pierson and Drew Povey
are the next group of Aggies who hope to continue the tradition at
Sanders is gone,
has a good nucleus to once again challenge for the top.
Senior Erick Garcia (26:04.4) finished second to McKenna last season.
Paul Zwama is also back for his final year after a 10thtplace
finish at the WAC Championships (26:45.8). Big
things are expected from Danny Vartanian after a fantastic finish to his
freshman season. Vartanian was 13thtat
the conference championships with a time of 26:52.8.
is a problem with a huge drop-off after that group.
Junior Eric Battles (28:04.1) was the next best Bulldog with a finish of
Elijah Carrillo (33rdrat the WAC Championships with a time of
28:17.4) needs to make great strides this season.
And senior Mitchell Pfyl (47th with a time of 29:08.2) and
sophomore Michael Jamieson (48th—29:09.5) must also continue to improve for
the Bulldogs to match last season's second-place finish.
has all of their top runners returning and could make a run for the conference
title. Junior Ian Ruybalid (9th
last season with a time of 26:42.8) and his brother Jonah, a sophomore (16th,
27:10.5) lead the Aggie cause. Sophomore
Robert Selph was 17th in the WAC last season (27:12.7) and fellow
sophomore Ryan Fenton was 22nd (27:31.4).
Junior Kevin Taft (26th, 27:56.0), senior Michael Hart (27th,
27:59.4) and sophomore Terry Williams (28th, 28:03.4) are all back
has a good young team that, while it probably won't challenge for the
conference title, should be somewhere around the middle of the pack.
Junior Markus Geiger finished an impressive fourth last season in the WAC
championships with a time of 26:23.1. Fellow
juniors James Clark (24th at 27:46.3) and Alex Brekke (32nd
at 28:16.2) help form a good nucleus. Sophomores
Cory Ytsma (34th at 28:18.1) and Sam Salus have to make good strides
for Idaho to finish fourth this year—Salus was 39th last season
with a time of 28:25.3. Sophomore
Lars Lunstrum (45th, 28:58.1) rounds out the lineup for the Vandals.
again projected to finish sixth and Louisiana Tech seventh.