Men's and Women's teams both seventh at Conference Championship, with Kaitlin Frier gaining third them All-Conference
Both men's and women's team placed seventh at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships in Las Vegas, N.M. on Saturday. The Mountain Lions had some strong individual races, including Kaitlin Frier's third-team All-Conference performance by finishing in 16th place.
According to Head Coach Mark Misch both team raced much better than they did last year at the Conference Championship. They should be even better next year with the top six men and four of the top six women returning next year. Plus, UCCS picked up four points in the Steel & Silver Serie by beating CSU-Pueblo.
The men's race was the first of the day at RMAC Championship. In the RMAC, the men's field is the toughest conference in NCAA Division II. The team national champion has been an RMAC school for 16 years in a row. Last year Adams State, Western State and Colorado Mines placed first, second and third respectively at the National Championship and those three teams are favored to win the 2010 NCAA D-II National Championship as they have distanced themselves for the rest of the field in the rankings for the entire season. Also, Adams, Western and Mines have all beaten several good D-I schools during the 2010 season. The teams they have between are 1/3 to 1/2 of the currently projected D-I National Championship field.
UCCS placed seventh in the final RMAC team standings, but places four through seven were very tight among Metro State, New Mexico Highlands, Nebraska-Kearney and UCCS, with only 38 points separating the four. It is those four teams and Augustana (S.D.) that will be battling for the final three qualifying team spots for the National Championship at the Regional Qualifier on November 20.
For the individual Mountain Lion men, Mike English placed 24th, covering the 8,000 meter course in a time of 25:06. Considering he was running at 6,500ft elevation, English ran a great race. He will be in the hunt for an individual national qualifying spot, should the UCCS men not finish in the top six at the Regional. The men will be at full strength two weeks from now when it counts the most.
The individual race time for the men:
Men 8k, seventh in the team standings with a team score of 178
24th 25:05 English
39th 26:01 Feldotto
40th 26:16 Derrick
46th 26:28 Edwards
47th 26:30 Johnson
51st 26:49 Schultz
61st 27:42 Jones
For women, Western State won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championship. Frier lead the UCCS women, with a 16th placed finish and third-team All-Conference, to a seventh place finish in the team standings. The RMAC is also the strongest cross country in NCAA D-II. Thirteen of the past 20 team national champions have been RMAC schools. Though, it is down somewhat this year with only two teams currently ranked in the National top 25.
Frier, could also be in position to obtain an individual qualifier, should team not place in the top six at the regional. As a senior, she picked a good time to have her best college cross-country race at the conference championship. If Kaitlin could better her conference championship race maybe a race in Louisville, Kentucky could happen.
Women 6k, seventh place with a team score of 176
16th 22:35 Kaitlin Frier
29th 23:28 Melissa Buchanan
39th 23:59 Veronica Sandoval
44th 24:09 Madison Neher
54th 24:35 Alicia Del Pardo
55th 24:36 Natalie Miller
58th 24:55 Sara Kettlekamp
Though, it is important to note the unique aspect of cross country. In all the other sports, the Conference Championship is an end all for the season, determining who moves on the NCAA regional/national tournaments. In cross-country the conference championship is of material value but is it not the end all of the season. The NCAA regional is the most important date of the season.
The next race is the Regional in Wayne, Neb on Nov. 20 then for those who qualify through the Regional races the NCAA D-II National Championship will be Dec. 4 in Louisville, KY
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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