UW Harriers ready for test at national meet

UW Harriers ready for test at national meet

LARAMIE – After a weekend off, the University of Wyoming men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Minneapolis. The Cowboys race an 8-kilometer course at 11:20 a.m. MT, while the Cowgirls run 6 kilometers at 12:10 p.m. MT.

Wyoming was dominant in its last outing, taking both team and both individual titles at the Utah Valley Invitational on Sept. 13. Senior Garrett Zans and junior Holly Page paced the Cowboys and Cowgirls, respectively, en route to earning both Mountain West Athlete of the Week honors. It was the first time in program history Wyoming swept both weekly awards.

“The Roy Griak will be a good way to judge ourselves against some of the nation’s best programs,” UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. “Several teams that are ranked in the nation’s top 30 will be there, including a couple teams from our mountain region, so it will be good to see where we are at. We want to run well at this meet, but keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to race our best for two weekends in November.”

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Last Time Out: Wyoming Sweeps Individual and Team Titles at Utah Valley

Zans and Page swept the individual races to help the University of Wyoming men’s and women’s cross country teams capture both team titles at the Utah Valley Invitational on Sept. 13 at Lakeside Park. The last time Wyoming won both the men’s and women’s race at one meet was Mark Korir and Emily Higgins at the 2008 Montana State Invitational.

“Both our men and women showed a lot of improvement from last weekend’s races and to get better every week is really our goal throughout the whole season,” Berryhill said. “This race was extra special for the women because they had a subpar race last time out and then came back and ran pretty well.”

Zans brought home the 46-person field in 18:08 to claim the first individual title for a Cowboy since Korir won the 2008 Mountain West Championships. Zans’ time was the fourth fastest by a UW runner over a 6-kilometer course since 1990. Fellow senior Mike Banks was runner-up in 18:22, while sophomore Aaron Derner gave UW three runners in the top four with a fourth-place finish in 18:31. Sophomore Amos Bowen crossed the line at 18:50 for 11th and freshman Michael Rotellini rounded out UW’s scorers in 13th at 18:52. The men’s race was shortened from 4 miles to 6 kilometers due to wet conditions on the course, but that didn’t stop the Cowboys from claiming their first team title since the opening meet of the 2011 season.

On the women’s side, Page topped 52 fellow competitors over the 5-kilometer course in 18:03 to claim her second career individual title. She also won last season’s Montana State Invitational. Sophomore Audra DeStefano was runner-up at 18:24, while freshman Megan Brunette placed fifth in 18:39 to help the women place three runners in the top five as well. Junior Devon England was 15th in 19:06 and freshman Ali Walker rounded out UW’s scorers at 19:16 for 21st. The team title for the Cowgirls was their first since 2004.

“Wins for Garrett [Zans] and Holly [Page] today were huge for their confidence level,” Berryhill said. “Especially for Garrett since it was his first at the collegiate level. He can really translate that into some of the bigger meets we travel to now. Audra [DeStefano] and Megan [Brunette] were really the heart and soul of the women’s team. They worked together the whole race and it was great to see them run with such confidence. Mike [Banks] and Aaron [Derner] really did the same on the men’s side.”

2013 Utah Valley Invite

Men’s Team Results
1. Wyoming – 31
2. Utah Valley – 34
3. Southern Utah – 60
4. Utah State – 102

Wyoming Men Individual Results
1. Garrett Zans – 18:08
2. Mike Banks – 18:22
4. Aaron Derner – 18:31
11. Amos Bowen – 18:50
13. Michael Rotellini – 18:52
20. Dylan Morin – 19:07
24. Mike Seas – 19:17
27. Michael Kesy – 19:25
41. Bryce Snow – 21:01

Women’s Team Results
1. Wyoming – 40
2. Utah Valley – 44
3. Utah State – 51
4. Southern Utah – 75

Wyoming Women Individual Results
1. Holly Page – 18:03
2. Audra DeStefano – 18:24
5. Megan Brunette – 18:39
15. Devon England – 19:06
21. Ali Walker – 19:16
23. Emily Swigart – 19:26
26. Mary Kozlowski – 19:29
33. Cassidy Meade – 19:55