Untapered UCCS Men Grab Fifth at RMAC Championship

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 21, 2006

PUEBLO â€" Cross country coaches face a tough decision this time of year, especially those with a young team.

UCCS coach Graeme Badger has a very young team. Therefore, he had to make a very tough choice.

With two weeks between the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Menâ€TMs Cross Country Championship, which was run Saturday, and the regional meet, which will be run on Nov. 4, coaches must decide when to start tapering, or lessening the intensity of workouts. Taper early and your team is at its physical peak for the conference championship. Taper later and the peak will be reached for the regionals.

Although Badger chose the latter, his young University of Colorado at Colorado Springs still managed to grab fifth place at the RMAC Championship Saturday at Elmwood Golf Course.

The Mountain Lions feature seven freshmen on their roster, four of whom were among the teamâ€TMs top six finishers Saturday. The grueling training regimen of a collegiate runner can make for a difficult adjustment for a first-year athlete.

“Theyâ€TMre not used to the volume; theyâ€TMre not used to the intensity so they respond a lot more to rest than the older guys do,” said Badger. “Theyâ€TMll respond really good to tapering the next couple of weeks because itâ€TMll make them stronger.”

The extra strength will serve them well when they go to Wayne, Neb., for regionals. There, the Mountain Lions will be looking to at least top Metro State, which finished fourth on Saturday. The Roadrunners had the bounce of a team that had already tapered.

Three nationally-ranked teams swept the top three spots. No. 1 Adams State won the meet, while No. 6 Western State took second and No. 5 Colorado School of Mines took third.

Adams Stateâ€TMs Jesus Solis won the race with a time of 24 minutes, 39.60 seconds. Western Stateâ€TMs Kim Hogarth was second, while Adams State runners took spots 3-6.

Western State and Adams State have combined to win all but two national championships since the schools joined NCAA Division II in 1992.

“Itâ€TMs great to come out here and compete against these teams. It makes our team a lot better,” said UCCS junior Dan Pinter, who finished 25th overall with a time of 26:45.80. “Itâ€TMs amazing to compete against this level of competition. No other conference in the country is as strong as this one.”

Shea Wilfong was next for UCCS and 37th overall. Gabe Small (37th), Alex Tiernan (39th) and Aric Holmes (41st) also posted scoring times for the Mountain Lions.

Although pleased with his teamâ€TMs effort, Badger thinks thereâ€TMs plenty of room for improvement.

“Weâ€TMre very young and this was their first experience in a championship situation,” said Badger. “Itâ€TMs a learning experience.”

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Gabe SmallGabe Small
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Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
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