UCCS men take second at Colorado College Invitational

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 23, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Aaron Rubalcaba-Lopez won the Colorado College Invitational Saturday morning and led the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to a second-place team finish.

Rubalcaba-Lopez covered the 5-mile course that meandered through Monument Valley Park in 26 minutes, 29 seconds. Another UCCS runner, Adam Rich, took second in 26:35 but his finish didnâ€TMt count towards the team scores. Rich, a transfer from Western State, ran unattached since he wonâ€TMt be eligible for team competition until XXXXX due to Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and NCAA transfer rules.

Without Richâ€TMs time, the Mountain Lions were narrowly beaten 51-54 by host Colorado College, which is ranked No. 22 nationally in NCAA Division III. Tigers All-American Julian Boggs finished second individually with a time of 26:49, while teammate Alex Nichols took third three seconds later.

The real race was among the larger pack, though. Colorado Collegeâ€TMs Nicholas Campbell crossed the finish line in 18th place (good for 15 team points because of unattached runners). More importantly, Campbell was able to hold off the charge of a pack of five Mountain Lions that, had they caught him, would have reversed the result.

UCCS freshman Shea Wilfong had the best view of the contest.

“Campbell) and Gabe (Small) were running together most of the race and I eventually caught up with them,” said Wilfong. “I passed (Campbell) for a while but he out-kicked me in the last quarter mile.”

In that kick was contained the Tigersâ€TM first-ever win in their own meet.

Wilfong ran a 28:13, just four seconds behind Campbellâ€TMs pace. Small was next across the line at 28:16, while Aric Holmes clocked a 28:21, Joe Kienitz had a 28:22 and Brian Zakavec crossed in 28:24.

The tight pack didnâ€TMt form as an element of strategy, but rather a coincidence of ability.

“Weâ€TMre all really close anyway so we end up running as a pack,” said Wilfong. “But it pushes us and we work together as a team.”

Between Rubalcaba-Lopez and the UCCS pack of five, Mountain Lions Dan Pinter (10th, 27:44) and Alex Tiernan (16th, 27:59) crossed the line.

Division I Northern Colorado finished third with 69 points. RMAC schools Regis and Colorado Christian took sixth and seventh respectively.

Wilfong, Holmes and Keinitz â€" along with Dustin Simoens, Matt Philson and Allen Browne â€" form a group coach Graeme Badger calls his “young guns.” They represent the deepest class of talented freshman the program has ever brought in.

“We all have become friends and do a lot of things together,” said Wilfong. “We always talk about how we want to be the future of the program.”

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Brian ZakavecBrian ZakavecDistance
Brian ZakavecBrian ZakavecDistance
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
Gabe SmallGabe Small
Gabe SmallGabe Small
Gabe SmallGabe Small
Gabe SmallGabe Small
Gabe SmallGabe Small
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Allen BrowneAllen BrowneDistance
Allen BrowneAllen BrowneDistance
Allen BrowneAllen BrowneDistance
Allen BrowneAllen BrowneDistance
Allen BrowneAllen BrowneDistance
Allen BrowneAllen Browne
Allen BrowneAllen Browne
Allen BrowneAllen Browne
Allen BrowneAllen Browne
Allen BrowneAllen Browne
Aric HolmesAric HolmesDistance
Aric HolmesAric Holmes
Matthew PhilsonMatthew PhilsonDistance
Matthew PhilsonMatthew Philson
Adam RichAdam Rich
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