On Oct. 31 the men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Edinburg, Texas, for the Great West Conference Championships, where both finished in first place.
The men’s team won with a score of 34 points, which was 22 points better than second-place Seattle University. The women’s team won with a score of 39 points, 33 points ahead of second place Texas-Pan American.
The men captured their second straight GWC title, while the women completed a three-peat of being named GWC champions.
“It’s always nice to see them run well,” Coach Scott Houle said. “They came healthy and ran with a lot of confidence.”
Even though freshman Kodi Kleven came in at fourth place for the women, it was the finishing places 10 through 16 that sealed the victory for the women. Six of the seven runners were from UVU.
“In cross country we have something called a time gap, which is the finishing time between the first and last runner on the team,” Houle explained. “You want the gap to be close, and it took our girls less than one minute to complete the race after Kodi crossed the finish line.”
That is not to minimize Kleven’s performance, as she was named GWC Freshman of the Year.
“I really love running, and I want to contribute as much as I can to the team,” Kleven said.
For the men, junior Josh McCade was named the GWC Runner of the Year. “Josh is a great runner. He puts himself in the top of the country,” Houle said. “He has put in the time and has kept his body healthy. He loves to compete.”
“I try to stay focused and relaxed and not have a plan before each race,” McCade said. “I decide what I am going to do about 400 meters into each race. Your body reacts differently to each race.”
The awards for the teams do not end with Kleven and McCade. For the men McCade, senior Jared Keller and junior Spencer Evensen made first team All-Conference, and sophomore Tim Rowberry earned second team.
Kleven and senior Aleina Eisenhauer Winger both made first team All-Conference for the women while junior Stephanie Christensen, junior Krystal Harper, sophomore Shelise Walker, freshman Jessica Wilding, sophomore Brooke Hodson and freshman Ivie Gonsalves made second team All-Conference.
Houle was named the GWC Coach of the Year, an award he was also given in 2008.
Cross country will now move on to the NCAA Western Regionals that will be held in Salt Lake City on Nov. 13.