Payne Takes Second, Teams Fifth and Sixth at RMAC Championships

By Doug Fitzgerald published October 25, 2008

GRAND JUNCTION â€" Round 2 of the Shannon Payne â€" Lavenna Mullenbach showdown went to Mullenbach.

Payne, a senior from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs took second place to Adams Stateâ€TMs Mullenbach at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday.

Payneâ€TMs time of 21 minutes, 28.8 seconds was 5.9 seconds behind Mullenbach. The last time the two faced each other, it was Payne grabbing an eight-second victory at the Rocky Mountain Shootout in Boulder on Oct. 4. The two will next meet at the NCAA Central Region Championships in Kearney, Neb., on Nov. 8.

“Payne had a great race,” said UCCS cross country coach Mark Misch. “She a Lavenna Mullenbach traded places from Boulder.

“Weâ€TMre definitely looking forward to running at Kearney on a hilly course with grass.”

That will be a stark contrast to Saturdayâ€TMs race, which was run on a desolate, 6-kilometer course outside Grand Junction.

“It was incredible that they ran as fast as they did considering the course they ran on,” said Misch. “The course was out in the desert; there wasnâ€TMt a single tree and the whole thing was on dirt. There was one significant hill that went up onto a ridge. Iâ€TMve never seen a cross country course like it.”

It seemed to suit Adams State, which won both the womenâ€TMs and menâ€TMs team titles, just fine. Western State took second in both races.

For UCCS, the womenâ€TMs team finished fifth and the menâ€TMs team came in sixth.

Kaitlin Frier finished second for the Mountain Lions and 22nd overall with a time of 23:17. Alicia Del Pardo was third among UCCS runners and 33rd overall at 23:50.3.

“Frier and Del Pardo each had a great race,” said Misch. “Frier missed all-conference by one place.”

The Mountain Lions suffered an unexpected setback when Lauren Bowers woke up sick on Saturday morning. She had been among UCCSâ€TM top runners so far this season. While she competed, she was badly limited by the illness.

“If we had Bowers, I think we could have been there in the mix for third,” said Misch.

Host Mesa State took third, while Metro State was fourth.

Dan Pinter and Gabe Small finished 23rd and 27th respectively to pace the UCCS men. Mason Frank was third for UCCS (39th overall), followed by Alex Tienan (42nd) and Carlos Ruibal (43rd).

Misch was encouraged by the UCCS menâ€TMs steady improvement. At Boulder, the Mountain Lions finished 58 points behind Metro State. Saturday, the margin was cut to 27.

Adams Stateâ€TMs Aaron Braun was the top individual finisher in the menâ€TMs race, covering the eight-kilometer course in 24:35.3.

Colorado School of mines took third in the team standings, followed by Metro State and New Mexico Highlands.

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