Cross country teams brace for nationals

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 15, 2004

For the first time in university of Colorado at Colorado Springs history, both the menâ€TMs and womenâ€TMs cross country teams will compete at the NCAA Division II National Cross Country Championship.

The championship, which will be held on Saturday (Nov. 20) at Evansville, Ind., will feature the 24 best menâ€TMs womenâ€TMs teams from around the nation.

"It's not very easy to do or more people would do it," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Graeme Badger about qualifying two teams for nationals. "There are over 250 Division II cross country teams and every one of them wants to be where we'll be this weekend.

"It's an exciting accomplishment for the athletic department and the school."

Going into nationals, the Mountain Lions men's team is ranked eighth nationally and the women's team is ranked 12th. Competing for the men's team will be: Moses Tum, Levi Brathall, Aaron Rubalcaba-Lopez, Jason Braun, Brad Winn, Phil Harrison and Jay Luna. The women's team will be: Tina Gray, Sarah Shepard, Shannon Payne, Megan Lund, Chelsey Cerrillo, Kari Samuelson, Jessica Urban.

“Itâ€TMs a team sport and you have to have five people score if youâ€TMre going to finish among the leaders,” said Badger. “Thatâ€TMs what we did well this season.

“I want to see a team effort. If that happens, weâ€TMll get good results.”

CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM best team finish at nationals was in 2000, when the womenâ€TMs team took 10th. They followed that with an 11th-place finish in 2002.

The menâ€TMs team has never competed at nationals but has had two individuals earn All-American status (Trent Briney in 1999 and Greg Augspurger in 2001). The womenâ€TMs program also boasts two All-Americans (Kira Claussen in 1999 and Sarah Vigil in 2000).

The top 25 United States citizens to finish earn All-American status. The U.S. citizen requirement exists because of the disproportionately high number of foreign athletes who compete in cross country.

Adams State and Western State, which are both members of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference along with CU-Colorado Springs, are heavy favorites in both the menâ€TMs and womenâ€TMs races. Of the past 12 Division II menâ€TMs championships, Adams State and Western State have each won five times. The dominance is even more pronounced on the womenâ€TMs side, where Adams State had won nine of the past 12 titles and Western State has won the other three.

“Year in and year out those schools are dominant,” said Badger. “They have tremendous athletes and great coaches, but they know weâ€TMre starting to close the gap.”

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jay LunaJay Luna
Moses TumMoses TumDistance
Moses TumMoses Tum
Megan LundMegan LundDistanceSo.
Megan LundMegan LundDistanceSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
Levi BrathallLevi Brathall
Levi BrathallLevi Brathall
Levi BrathallLevi BrathallDistance
Levi BrathallLevi BrathallDistance
Aaron Rubalcaba-LopezAaron Rubalcaba-LopezDistance
Aaron Rubalcaba-LopezAaron Rubalcaba-LopezDistance
Aaron Rubalcaba-LopezAaron Rubalcaba-LopezDistance
Aaron Rubalcaba-LopezAaron Rubalcaba-Lopez
Aaron Rubalcaba-LopezAaron Rubalcaba-Lopez
Aaron Rubalcaba-LopezAaron Rubalcaba-Lopez
Kari SamuelsonKari SamuelsonDistanceSr.
Kari SamuelsonKari SamuelsonSr.
Kari SamuelsonKari SamuelsonSr.
Tina GrayTina GrayJr.
Tina GrayTina GrayJr.
Tina GrayTina GraySteeplechase
Tina GrayTina GraySteeplechase
Jason BraunJason BraunDistance
Jason BraunJason BraunDistance
Jason BraunJason Braun
Jason BraunJason Braun
Additional News Stories
November 23, 2004UCCS takes 11th at nationalsWhen 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 6, 2004Men complete historic doubleThe University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men’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 23, 2004Men take third at RMAC ChampionshipsAfter the men’s 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.
October 2, 2004Lions take second at Boulder ShootoutThe University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men’s cross country team earned a second-place finish in the Non-Division I bracket at the Rocky Mountain Shootout Saturday in Boulder, Colo.
Visit our Facebook pageVisit the UCCS Mount Lion's Twitter pageVisit the UCCS Mountain Lions Youtube pageVisit UCCS Rss feeds