Runners take your mark. Get set. Go!
2015 WAC Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Preview
Christian Ledek | Sports Writer | @sea_led
Photo Courtesy of UVU Athletic Department
For the second consecutive season, the Utah Valley University men’s cross country team was crowned Western Athletic Conference champions. They finished the men’s 8k race with an overall time of 2:07:08.00, nearly three minutes faster than runners up New Mexico State.
The Wolverines had an average time per runner of 25:25.60, and placed seven individual runners in the top fifteen. Trac Norris, who finished in fourth place overall, returns as a senior in 2015 and looks to lead the Wolverines to another WAC championship along with seniors Chris Brower and Jason Lynch, juniors Logan Petty and Brandon Emery, who are returning from last year’s championship team.
“The WAC competition is good and it’s starting to get deeper,” UVU Head Coach Scott Houle said. “The biggest thing with the returners is that they have already been there and they have already experienced that type of atmosphere and know what it’s like to go to this one meet where your whole season pretty much counts for belonging to the WAC. I hope that the ‘been there, done that’ type of thing will give us an advantage.”
The New Mexico State Aggies had the best individual result come from Daniel Rubio, who finished the men’s 8k WAC Championship race as the only runner to break the 25-minute mark at 24:56, a full eight seconds ahead of runner up Kolton Sheldon of the University of Missouri Kansas City.
Rubio graduated, but sophomore Jereme Santistevan, who finished in seventh place overall, should have no problem leading a squad that will want to win the WAC after finishing second in 2014.
“The team is excited about the upcoming season and we just want to have a group that will be competitive during the WAC,” New Mexico State Head Coach Orin Richburg said. “The conference should be aware of our whole team, but we’re returning a young man that finished seventh in the conference last year and we also picked-up a few junior college kids that should also add something to our team.”
UMKC and the Redhawks of Seattle University will strive to do better than their respective third and fourth place finishes last season.
The women’s cross country team at UVU completed the 2014 WAC championships by finishing with five runners in the top fifteen, good enough to finish in second place. The good news for the Wolverines is that they return four of those five runners, including senior Darian Sharp who finished in third place individually with a time of 17:54. She, alongside the sophomore trio of McKayla Morgan, Makayla Stepp, and Shevaun Ames will be aiming to bring home the 2015 WAC championship to UVU.
Seattle University saw their women’s cross country team bring home the honor of being crowned WAC champions in 2014. Their overall time was 1:31:07.00 with an average individual time of 18:13.40. Junior Lila Rice and senior Taylor de Laveaga are poised to lead the Redhawks to another title in 2015. The Roos of UMKC who finished third will push to improve on their solid season, along with the New Mexico State Aggies who finished in fourth place in 2014.
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