Teamwork Lifts Lions to Third at RMAC Championships

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 23, 2004


On the surface, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs women's cross country team's third-place finish at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships presented a contradiction a team effort in what is usually considered an individual sport.

But that's exactly what it was a team effort.

Adams State, ranked No. 1 nationally, won the race. No. 2 Western State took second. The real race, however, was between the Mountain Lions and Colorado School of Mines. The teams had faced each other twice this season, with each finishing ahead of the other once.

When Mines' Heather Beresford and Hannah Davey crossed the line in eighth and ninth position respectively, things looked bleak for CU-Colorado Springs. Coach Graeme Badger, however, had no such misgivings. His team had a strategy.

"The key was that they paired up a lot," said Badger about his team. "You saw Sarah Shepard and Shannon Payne â€" that was a pair. And Chelsey (Cerrillo) and Kari (Samuelson) were a pair. That helps mentally."

As the Mountain Lions pairs crossed the line, the outlook changed radically. Payne (13th), Shepard (14th), Tina Gray (17th), Cerrillo (22nd) and Samuelson (24th) all registered final times before another Oredigger finished.

"There're a couple of groups that run together," said Samuelson. "We each have parts of the race at where we're stronger. If we can all stick together, we can use each other's strengths to run faster."

The strategy not only pushed the individual runners, it also allowed the No. 12-ranked Mountain Lions to have an impressive pack. Six of CU-Colorado Springs' nine runners finished between 13th place (Payne) and 27th (Megan Lund).

"We ran real strong even though we haven't tapered. We're not going to do that for a good week and a half," said Badger. "I'm pleased."

Also running for CU-Colorado Springs were Jessica Urban (46th), Crystal Ross (66th) and Whitney Lund (73rd).

Next up for the Mountain Lions will be the regional meet on Nov. 6 at Vermillion, S.D. A good showing there could lead to a berth at nationals.

"We've got to run like crazy at regional," said Badger. "Our region is so strong."

A little teamwork ought to help, though.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Megan LundMegan LundDistanceSo.
Megan LundMegan LundDistanceSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
Kari SamuelsonKari SamuelsonDistanceSr.
Kari SamuelsonKari SamuelsonSr.
Kari SamuelsonKari SamuelsonSr.
Tina GrayTina GraySteeplechase
Tina GrayTina GrayJr.
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Tina GrayTina GraySteeplechase
Jessica UrbanJessica UrbanDistance
Jessica UrbanJessica Urban
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
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Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
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Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Crystal RossCrystal Ross
Crystal RossCrystal Ross
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