Air Force women, Colorado Mines men take titles at Rust Buster Invitational

By Doug Fitzgerald and Matt Rigby published September 4, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS - Nine women's and eight men's cross country teams gathered at Monument Valley Park Friday afternoon to do exactly what the name of the race implied â€" shed themselves of some offseason rust.

The women's team from the Air Force Academy and the men's team from Colorado School of Mines won their respective races Friday at the second annual UCCS Rust Buster Invitational at Monument Valley Park.

The race, hosted by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, drew top collegiate program including Air Force, Colorado Mines, Colorado State-Pueblo, Colorado College, Colorado Christian, Metro State, Johnson and Wales and Crown College (Minnesota).

"Last year we didn't have Air Force here," said Kaitlin Frier, UCCS' top finisher in the women's race. "They brought up the level of competition."

That high level of competition was evident as the Mountain Lion women took fourth in the nine-team race while the UCCS men took fifth out of eight.

Frier took 17th overall with a time of 16 minutes, 13.58 seconds, less than four seconds ahead of teammate Kassie Mazzocco. It was the first time that Frier, a junior, had been the Mountain Lions' best finisher.

"I had a lot of good summer miles; this was probably one of my best summers training," said Frier. "I have a lot of work to do, but I feel like I have a lot to build upon."

Frier said the race provided an ideal situation to get a jump start on the cross country season.

"It's only a 4k, so it's a good break in. It gives us a good idea of where we can go from here," said Frier. "This is where we practice so it's good for the freshmen to get their first college race on (a course) that they're used to."

One of those freshmen was Sam Feldotto, who was UCCS' top finisher in the men's race and 25th overall.

"It's so much different," said Feldotto of his first collegiate competition. "In high school, I would always be at the front of the race. (In college) there are so many people out there running really solid races. I wasn't used to having that many (runners) in front of me."

Also competing for the UCCS men were: Mike English (27th), Michael Johnson (38th), Oliver Williams (45th), Casey Weaver (46th, Ted Schultz (49th), Jeremy George (50th), Josh Jones (51st), Chris Reynolds (56th), Matt Cahalan (58th), Joel Kienitz (63rd) and Allen Browne (66th).

Joining Frier and Mazzocco for UCCS in the women's race were: Alicia Del Pardo (26th), Kelsey Barry (27th), Tavia Hammond (29th), Sara Kettelcamp (41st), Melissa Buchanan (47th) and Tracy Falsetto (48th).

The women's 4-kilometer race was won by Sydney Laws of Colorado Mines with a time of 14:53.72. At the halfway mark, Danielle Kehoe of Metro State was leading with Laws trailing by 10 seconds and a five runner pack consisting of three runners from Metro State and two runner from Colorado Mines 25 seconds back of the leader. Joining Laws in the top five were Danielle Kehoe (Metro State, 15:09.16), Marie Patton (Colorado, 15:16.33), Ally Romanko (Air Force, 15:29.02) and Katie Anderson (Air Force, 15:31.74).

The women's team competition was won by Air Force with a team score of 33. The Falcons used a big push in the second half and dominated the field down the stretch. They had no runner in the top 20 at the halfway mark, but finished with five runners in the top 10. The rest of the women's team scores were Colorado School of the Mines (53), Metro State (54), UCCS (89), Colorado College (145), Colorado State-Pueblo (181), Colorado Christian (208) and Crown College (227). Complete race results can be obtained at

The men's 6-kilometer race was won by Ben Zywicki from Colorado Mines with a time of 19:08.36. At the 2,000-meter mark, Jackson Brainerd from Colorado College led, six seconds up on a three runners from Colorado Mines, which included Zywicki, and a chase pack 25 seconds back. Zywicki was leading by the 4,000-meter mark with Brainerd trailing by four seconds and a chase of three runners (one from Air Force and two from Colorado Mines). Joining Zywicki in the top five were Zachary Nordahl (Air Force, 19:08.65), Brainerd (Colorado College, 19:17.05), Anthony Luna (Metro State, 19:18.22), and Nate Hatleback (Colorado Mines, 19:19.47).

The men's team competition was won by Colorado Mines with a team score of 37. The Orediggers held a good pack in the front chase pack behind Zywicki to hold off the field. The rest of the team score were: Air Force (44), Metro State (62), Colorado College (98), UCCS (143), Colorado Christian (182) and Johnson and Wales (214).

There was an open race earlier in the day. The winner of the open women's 4000-meter race was Adams State Alum and 2008 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference individual champion Lavenna Mullenbach with a time of 14:40.6. Adam Rich was the winner of the open men's 6000-meter race with a time of 19:11.52.

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