Men take third at RMAC Championships
After the menâ€TMs race in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday at Long Lake Park, Fort Hays State coach Jim Krob congratulated University of Colorado at Colorado Springs coach Graeme Badger.
â€œItâ€TMs good to see somebody else get in the Top 10,â€ Krob told Badger.
Badger couldnâ€TMt agree more.
Levi Brathall and Moses Tum cracked the Top 10 individual finishers, leading the Mountain Lions to a third-place team finish. The strong showing by Brathall (eighth) and Tum (ninth) earned them All-RMAC recognition and broke the stranglehold that conference powerhouses Western State and Adams State have held on the All-Conference roles in recent, and even not-so-recent, years.
â€œWhat strikes me is that we have two All-Conference guys on our team,â€ said Badger. â€œItâ€TMs harder to be All-Conference than All-American.â€
More important that the individual honors earned was the team finish, which validated CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM No. 13 national ranking. In addition, the strong showing against the top two ranked teams in the nation bodes well for next weekâ€TMs rankings.
Western State, ranked No. 2, won the team competition in what was a mild upset over top-ranked Adams State.
â€œI knew there was going to be a war between (Western State and Adams State),â€ said Tum. â€œThey didnâ€TMt consider us. We surprised them.â€
But that result didnâ€TMt just happen. It was the result of a well-conceived game plan by Badger and outstanding execution by the runners.
â€œWe ran smart races â€" we were patient in our races,â€ said Badger, who then gestured to a long, shallow-grade hill that dominated the early portion of the race course. â€œThis one hill here, itâ€TMs a mental hill. Itâ€TMs not that hard, but itâ€TMs there and itâ€TMs going to change your pacing. You have to adjust the way you run the race because of that.â€
One who adjusted particularly well was CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM designated hill-climb specialist Aaron Rubalcaba-Lopez. After completing the first circuit near the middle of the field, Rubalcaba-Lopez took full advantage of all of the courseâ€TMs inclines, moving up through the pack at each hill and finishing 14th.
â€œIf itâ€TMs a steep, sharp hill it really helps Aaron because he just shuffles up it,â€ said Badger.
One of the most important factors lifting CU-Colorado Springs past fourth-place Colorado School of Mines was the return of Brad Winn, who finished 22nd.
â€œThat was (Winnâ€TMs) first race in a long time because of an injury,â€ said Badger. â€œHe ran real well.â€
Winnâ€TMs return to racing was not only important Saturday, but will be a huge boost at regionals as well.
â€œIâ€TMm almost back to where I was before the injury,â€ said Winn. â€œIâ€TMm getting better every day. Iâ€TMm feeling like Iâ€TMm getting back to where I can be and will be.â€
Finishing fifth for the Mountain Lions and 28th overall was impressive freshman Jason Braun. Jay Luna (33rd), Phil Harrison (43rd) Kyle Reno (54th) and Brian Zakavec (60th) also ran for CU-Colorado Springs. Only the top five finishers for each school counted towards the team scores.
â€œWe wanted to close our pack time up a little bit â€" the distance between our first runner and our fifth,â€ said Winn. â€œI think we did a pretty good job of that.â€
With the RMAC championships behind them, the Mountain Lions will now focus their attention on regionals, which will be held at Vermillion, S.D. It will take a particularly strong showing there if CU-Colorado Springs hopes to qualify for nationals on Nov. 20 at Evansville, Ind.
â€œWeâ€TMll train hard this week then taper a little bit,â€ said Tum. â€œWe want to go to nationals and I know we will this time. We have a strong team.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
|Additional News Stories|
|November 23, 2004||UCCS takes 11th at nationals||When Moses Tum finished eighth at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships Saturday, it marked the highest finish ever by a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs runner at a national meet.|
|November 15, 2004||Cross country teams brace for nationals||For the first time in university of Colorado at Colorado Springs history, both the menâ€™s and womenâ€™s cross country teams will compete at the NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championship.|
|November 6, 2004||Men complete historic double||The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs menâ€™s cross country team took third place at the Division II North Central Regional at Vermillion, S.D. Saturday, earning a berth at nationals.|
|October 2, 2004||Lions take second at Boulder Shootout||The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs menâ€™s cross country team earned a second-place finish in the Non-Division I bracket at the Rocky Mountain Shootout Saturday in Boulder, Colo.|