by Garrett Coleman, Assistant Sports Editor, [email protected]
The Utah Valley University Men’s and Women’s cross country and track and field teams have dominated their competition while in the Great West Conference and hope to continue their championship streak in the WAC for years to come.
The running dynasty is looking to add more championships to their already heavy-laden GWC trophy case. For the past five years while in the Great West, the men’s cross country team captured four championships, while the women’s cross country, and both track and field squads took home all five GWC championships.
Since the announcement of the move to the WAC, the athletics have been buzzing with excitement. For these squads, the goal of success is no different at this higher level of athleticism and competition as they look forward to the challenge of the new conference.
“We can’t wait to get to the next one and see if we can do it again,” said UVU cross country and track and field coach Scott Houle. “That’s going to be a nice new goal for us and unchartered waters, but we’re going to set that as our goal.”
The road to winning a championship is never an easy one, regardless of how many times these teams have previously won. Championships are earned, not given. The Wolverines understand that principle and have always worked hard to be worthy of the praise they have received.
“I think the competition [in conference] has kept the kids driven to keep working hard during the summers,” Houle said. “We have always had good competition pushing us and making us want to get better.”
The new conference does offer new challenges for the Wolverines. The conference consists of many of the schools the Wolverines are familiar with from the GWC, with the addition of Grand Canyon University, who is transitioning from Div. II, and longtime WAC members New Mexico State, Idaho and Seattle.
All four of the new conference foes have a good blend of talent and experience to shine in the upcoming seasons. The solid amount of upperclassmen that the Wolverines return will be counted on to continue their stellar form. Junior cross country runner Joshua McCabe is coming off of one of the best seasons in UVU history. McCabe was named the Great West Conference Runner of the Year and became the Wolverine’s first-ever runner to qualify for NCAA Nationals. McCabe also won the GWC Championships with the time of 23:49.06.
The track team enjoyed similar success when freshmen Brandon Edmondson (1500m) and Mykah Heaton (400m hurdles) competed in the Junior Nationals in June. The team’s other notable achievments included Michael McPherson and Maryn Pincock being named the 2013 Great West Conference Outdoor Track & Field Athletes of the Year.
It looks to be a great year for both cross country and track and field teams in the inaugural year in the WAC. All four teams are no strangers to success and look to make this season a year to remember.