UCCS Women Take Fifth, Men Ninth at University of Nebraska Meet

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 20, 2008

LINCOLN, Neb. â€" In the cross country community, it is widely recognized that the NCAA Division II Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference is the equal of most, if not all, Division I conferences. Knowing that, itâ€TMs little wonder that University of Colorado at Colorado Spring coach Mark Misch is preparing his team for the RMAC championships by competing in consecutive Division I meets.

The Mountain Lion women took fifth place and the UCCS men took ninth at the Woody Greeno Cross Country Invitational, hosted by the University of Nebraska, Saturday morning at Pioneers Park.

UCCS will compete Oct. 4 at the CU Rocky Mountain Shootout, hosted by CU-Boulder, before facing Division IIâ€TMs finest at the RMAC championships on Oct. 25.

“The kids did a tremendous job; Iâ€TMm very proud of them,” said Misch. “We had a lot of positives.”

Among those positives was that the UCCS women beat Division I South Dakota and Creighton as well as two RMAC rivals (Colorado School of Mines and Nebraska-Kearney) and was the highest-finishing Division II team. Meanwhile, the Mountain Lion men bested Kansas State, South Dakota and Creighton as well as Nebraska-Kearney.

But the biggest positive came from the Mountain Lionsâ€TM best runner. All-American Shannon Payne was the top Division II finisher and was third overall among the 251-runner field.

Payne covered the 6-kilometer course in 21 minutes, 36.8 seconds, crossing the line just 3.5 seconds behind Nebraskaâ€TMs Lara Crofford, who was the 2007 Big 12 freshman of the year. Both Crofford and race-winner Beverly Ramos of Kansas State were Division I all-Americans a year ago.

Nebraska and Kansas State grabbed the top two spots in the womenâ€TMs race.

Kaitlyn Frier took second among UCCS runners, and 32nd overall, with a time of 23:39.1. She was followed by Alicia Del Pardo (43rd, 23:55.8), Christy Severy (51st, 24:09.2) and Lauren Bowers (56th, 24:16.8).

Alex Tiernan was the top finisher among the UCCS men with a time of 27:02.2, good for 46th overall in a 324-runner field. Gabe Small was right on his heels in 48th, 1.9 seconds later. Senior Dan Pinter was 65th overall at 27:23.2 on the 8-kilometer course.

“It was very hot here today; we havenâ€TMt run on any day this hot this year,” said Misch. “Dan Pinter got a really bad cramp about two miles in but hung on.”

Close behind were Carlos Ruibal (77th, 27:32.9) and Michael Johnson (78th, 27:33.1). The Mountain Lionsâ€TM top five all finished within 30.9 seconds each other. That kind of depth and consistency should pay off down the road.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Gabe SmallGabe Small
Gabe SmallGabe Small
Gabe SmallGabe Small
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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
Shannon PayneShannon Payne
Carlos RuibalCarlos RuibalDistance
Carlos RuibalCarlos RuibalDistance
Carlos RuibalCarlos RuibalDistance
Carlos RuibalCarlos RuibalDistance
Carlos RuibalCarlos RuibalDistance
Carlos RuibalCarlos Ruibal
Carlos RuibalCarlos Ruibal
Carlos RuibalCarlos Ruibal
Carlos RuibalCarlos Ruibal
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
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Alex TiernanAlex Tiernan
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Lauren BowersLauren Bowers
Lauren BowersLauren Bowers
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