UCCS Chases Metro State

By Matt Rigby published October 16, 2010

Out at Washington Park in Denver the skies were clear, blue and almost cloudless. The air had some crispness in it. The grass was long and wet with some remnants of the overnight frost in some shaded areas. It is all the making of classic cross-country conditions. It was also the makings of a great day for UCCS cross-country.

The men's 8,000 meter race got underway first. UCCS took advantage for an outside starting block position and got out to a solid starting position from the gun. The men attacked as if they were looking for a win.

Coming through the 2,000-meter mark, Mike English was in the lead pack of three and Sam Feldotto was in the chase pack with Michael Johnson not far behind. Going into the two mile mark English surged ahead to take the lead, because as he said, "I knew about the speed and kick that Carl Arnold had and I thought it could become my advantage to pull Arnold's kick out early in the race." Carl Arnold is Metro State's multiple All-American in the 800 meter and 1500 meter in both indoor and outdoor track and field.

Through over 6,000 meters English had a good idea. English had a six-second lead at the two-mile mark, a seven second lead at the three-mile mark, but come the four-mile mark, about 6,400 meters, Arnold began to pull in English and then cruise to the individual win.

Even though English faded down the final stretch, he still gained a lot of confidence and experience in going head to head with one of the RMAC's best runners. Two week ago in Boulder, Arnold finished over 80 places in front of English. He also ran one minute and 40 second faster then he did at the conference championship last year, finishing Saturday in a time of 25:56 as opposed to 27:36 last year. The 2009 conference championship was held at Washington Park.

"I hung on with the rest of the Metro guys and was able beat them through the rest of the race," said English, "and I had a big PR in today's race."

The other members of the UCCS team who ran at the 2009 conference championship race all bettered their times Saturday. The three biggest improvements were English, Feldotto, today finishing 10th in a time of 26:24, last year 27:59 and Josh Jones, today finishing in a time of 27:13, last year 29:37. The men's team brought home a second place finish at the Metro State Invitational with a team score of 48 to Metro State's 21.

The race that matters the most is in five weeks at the regional race. Feldotto said is for the rest of the team, " I will have that little extra when it counts at the regional."

UCCS's top seven men

  1      2    292 Mike English           SO UC CO SPRGS                      25:56
  2      7    293 Sam Feldotto           FR UC CO SPRGS                      26:24
  3     11    295 Michael Johnson        SO UC CO SPRGS                      26:49
  4     13    290 Ryan Derrick           FR UC CO SPRGS                      27:04
  5     15    291 William Edwards        SR UC CO SPRGS                      27:12
  6   ( 16)   296 Josh Jones             SO UC CO SPRGS                      27:13
  7   ( 17)   301 Ian Penn               SO UC CO SPRGS                      27:19

The women's 6,000 meter followed the men. The UCCS women got off to a good start with Kaitlin Frier and Melissa Buchanan leading out the Mountain Lions. Through the two-mile mark Frier was in 11th place, Veronica Sandoval in 14th and Buchanan was in 17th and a pack of three Mountain Lions in low 30's of the race.

Going though the three-mile mark Frier was in 11th, Sandoval in 15th, Buchanan in 21nd and Alicia Del Pardo charging up into 23rd. The UCCS women finished on the team competition in third place with a score of 69 to Regis's 42(1st) and Metro State's 64(2nd).

Additionally, when comparing the women's race times to last year conference championships reveals some more huge individual improvements. For example; Frier, today 11th with a time of 23:42, last year 25:00, along with Del Pardo, today finishing with a time of 24:32, last year 26:33 and Kassie Mazzocco, today's time of 25:41, last year 28:07.  

UCCS's top seven women

  1      7    294 Kait Frier             FR UC CO SPRGS                      23:42
  2      9    316 Veronica Sandoval      SO UC CO SPRGS                      24:01
  3     12    286 Melissa Buchanan       SO UC CO SPRGS                      24:04
  4     18    289 Alicia Del Pardo       JR UC CO SPRGS                      24:32
  5     23    300 Madison Neher          SR UC CO SPRGS                      25:07
  6   ( 25)   299 Natalie Miller         JR UC CO SPRGS                      25:25
  7   ( 27)   298 Kassie Mazzocco        JR UC CO SPRGS                      25:41

Next up for Mountain Lion cross-country is the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship on November 7th in Las Vegas, NM-hosted by New Mexico Highlands.

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