Men’s cross country repeats as WAC champs; women take 2nd

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The Wolverines followed up the school’s first-ever conference title with another championship in the men’s competition, while narrowly missing out on the top spot in the women’s meet.

Photo by UVU Athletics

Photo by UVU Athletics

Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer | @kylesportsbias

First appearing in print on November 17, 2014.

Junior Trac Norris led the charge for the UVU men’s Cross Country team as they won their second straight Western Athletic Conference championship in dominating fashion. It is the second time in as many years that the Wolverines are bringing the title back to Orem.

The Wolverines did it in a more dramatic fashion in 2013, but this year it wasn’t even a contest. The goal of sticking together as a group paid off and the Wolverines overwhelmed the field of 55 racers. With only one senior on the squad, there is a great chance for the Wolverines to go for a three-peat.

The Wolverines were guided by Norris who finished fourth overall and sophomore Logan Petty who finished sixth overall.  Brenden Emery, Chris Brower, Trevor Sharp, Seth Guzwiller, and Tyson Lambert all finished in the Top 10 as well to pace a Wolverine team who won by 36 points over second place New Mexico State.

New Mexico State was a distant second behind UVU.  They were led by WAC athlete of the year, senior, Daniel Rubio, who placed first overall. The NCAA field should keep an eye out for this guy.  He didn’t have much help at the top though, as only one other Aggie runner finished in the top 20.

UMKC took third with 81 points. Sophomore Kolton Sheldon finished second and Taylor Wardall finished third, but UMKC could only get one more runner in the top 20. Seattle, Grand Canyon, Texas-Pan American, and Chicago State rounded out the rest of the field.

Rubio, Sheldon, Wardall, and Norris are all names that need to be remembered going in to the NCAA Mountain Regional Championship meet in Albuquerque, NM on Nov.15.  The entire UVU team—Emery, Brower, Sharp, Gutzwiller, Lambert, Jadyn Asay, and Rush Mills—should be considered a threat going into the regionals.

The UVU women lost a nail biter, losing by a mere two points to conference champion Seattle University.  Darian Sharp finished in third place for the Lady Wolverines and was followed by senior Ivie Gonsalves and freshman Makayla Morgan who finished in sixth and eighth respectively.

The Lady Wolverines had a tough time sticking together which may have cost them the race. They had sporadic finishes with Makayla Stepp finishing 13th, Shevaun Ames finishing 15th, Savannah Berry finishing 18th, and Mackenzie Snyder finishing 21st.

However, in only their second year of WAC competition, the Lady Wolverines had a much better showing than 2013 where they finished fifth. The experience these UVU women gained will be priceless as they will all be returning for the 2015 season.

Coach Scott Houle won the Coach of the Year award and 7 Wolverine men were named to the All-WAC team.  Makayla Morgan of the women’s team won Freshman of the Year and, along with three of her teammates, was named to the All-WAC team.

The Seattle University women won the WAC Championship to avenge a second place finish in 2013.  They were paced by senior Sophie Curatilo who placed second overall.  They had a strong showing with five runners placing in the top 20.  UMKC had a strong showing as they placed third behind Seattle and UVU.  They were paced by junior Courtney Frerichs who placed first overall.  They had two other runners place in the top 20 as well.  New Mexico State, Grand Canyon, Texas-Pan American, Cal St. Bakersfield, and Chicago State bring up the rest of the field.

Women’s Athlete of the Year, Courtney Frerichs, of UMKC and first team All-WAC performer, Sophie Curatilo, will be runners to be reckoned with at the NCAA Mountain Regionals. Keep an eye out for Darian Sharp of UVU as well as she was the top finisher for the Lady Wolverines