UVU Men Repeat as WAC Champs; UVU Women Lose a Heartbreaker

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Kyle McDonald, Sports Writer, @kylesportsbias

Junior Trac Norris led the charge for the UVU Men’s Cross Country team as they won their second straight WAC Cross Country Championship in dominating fashion. It is the second time is as many years that the Wolverines are bringing the WAC Championship back to Orem, Utah.

They 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 4th overall and sophomore Logan Petty who finished 6th 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 and 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 2nd and Taylor Wardall finished 3rd 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 into the NCAA Mountain Regional Championship meet in Albuquerque, NM on November 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 2 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 6th and 8th respectively.

The Lady Wolverines had a tough time sticking together which may have cost them the race as 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 5th.   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 3 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 2nd overall.  They had a strong showing with 5 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 2 other runner place in the top 20 along.  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 on Novermber 15th.  Keep an eye out for Darian Sharp of UVU as well as she was the top finisher for the Lady Wolverines.

Utah Valley’s cross country teams compete next at the NCAA Regional championship in Albuquerque on November 15.

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