UCCS Women Dominate at Colorado College Invitational

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 23, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS - University of Colorado at Colorado Springs women swept the first four places as the Mountain Lions scored a dominating win Saturday morning at the Colorado College Invitational.

UCCS All-American Shannon Payne set a blistering pace, breaking away from the pack a the one-mile mark. So large did the junior's lead grow that the bicyclists who ride ahead of the runners to clear the course had to split up one to precede Payne and the other for the rest of the field.

Payne covered the 6-kilometer course at Monument Valley Park in 22 minutes, 14 seconds, a full 41 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. The problem was that Payne made her breakaway a full mile before coach Graeme Badger wanted her to.

"I get impatient," said Payne a bit sheepishly. "I thought that Sarah (Shepard) was right behind me so I thought we were still in a pack kind of."

That nearest competitor was Payne's teammate and fellow All-American, Sarah Shepard. Sixteen seconds later, a third UCCS All-American, Ashley Birger, made it three in a row. Former UCCS runner Megan Lund took fourth but, since she was running unattached, her finish did not compute into the team scores. That opened the door for Jenna Dorsey-Spitz, who gave the Mountain Lions the top four spots with her time of 23:43.

Freshman Christy Severy was the final UCCS runner to count towards the team score. She finished 19th overall and 17th among scoring runners.

The scary part about the race is that the Mountain Lions are still pacing themselves for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships and the regional meet.

"None of us are in peak shape right now," said Payne. "We treated this as a hard workout. Obviously, we wanted to do well and win but we weren't out to kill ourselves.

"I would say it was comfortably hard."

Host Colorado College took second with an impressive pack that crossed the finish line in sixth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th places. Division I Northern Colorado took third.

While the RMAC championships are still a month away, UCCS easily outdistanced conference rivals Mesa State, Regis, Colorado Christian and Colorado State-Pueblo on Saturday. Payne, however, was quick to downplay any talk of dominance.

"We need to keep it in perspective," said Payne. "Last year we got overconfident and it cost us."

Also running for UCCS but not counting towards the team score were: Whitney Lund (27th, 25:39), Leslie Bennett (32nd, 25:59), Tavia Hammond (34th, 26:09), Diana Aqra (59th, 29:20) and Karly Fischer (63rd, 29:47).

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Ashley BirgerAshley BirgerSteeplechaseSo.
Ashley BirgerAshley BirgerSteeplechaseSo.
Ashley BirgerAshley BirgerSteeplechaseSo.
Ashley BirgerAshley BirgerSo.
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Ashley BirgerAshley BirgerSo.
Megan LundMegan LundDistanceSo.
Megan LundMegan LundDistanceSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
Megan LundMegan LundSo.
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Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
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Tavia HammondTavia Hammond
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Tavia HammondTavia HammondDistance
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Tavia HammondTavia HammondDistance
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Jenna Dorsey-SpitzJenna Dorsey-SpitzMid-Distance
Jenna Dorsey-SpitzJenna Dorsey-SpitzMid-Distance
Jenna Dorsey-SpitzJenna Dorsey-SpitzMid-Distance
Jenna Dorsey-SpitzJenna Dorsey-Spitz
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Leslie BennettLeslie Bennett
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Christy SeveryChristy Severy
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Diane AqraDiane AqraDistance
Diane AqraDiane AqraDistance
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Diane AqraDiane Aqra
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