UCCS Runs for Fourth National Championship Appearance on Saturday

By Jared Verner published November 2, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The ninth-ranked University of Colorado Colorado Springs men's cross country team will run for its second straight trip to the national championships and the fourth time in program history when the Mountain Lions compete in the 2012 NCAA Division II South Central Region Championships on Saturday morning at Willis Case Golf Course in Denver. The men's 10-kilometer race begins at 10:30 a.m.

The top six teams from the regional championships will automatically qualify for the national championships, scheduled to take place in two weeks on Nov. 17 in Joplin, Mo. This season will be the first year with an additional eight teams (up to 32) and eight additional individuals (up to 24) for the championships after the Division II Championships Committee approved the increases in August 2011.

This season will also be a new region for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which moved from the Central Region to the South Central Region. The change was caused by the creation of the Great American Conference in Oklahoma and Arkansas which shifted the number of teams in the old South Central Region. The Mountain Lions will be competing against teams from the Heartland and Lone Star Conferences.

Six teams, including UCCS, are ranked in the top 35 of the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Poll conducted after the RMAC Championships two weeks ago. The Mountain Lions finished fourth in the conference meet and is fourth in the latest USTFCCCA South Central Regional Poll.

Emilio Trujillo earned the second-best finish for a Mountain Lion in the conference championships with a ninth-place finish and led UCCS to its best team finish since 2005. The three teams to finish ahead of the Mountain Lions are three teams ranked in the top five of the latest national poll.

Trujillo won the first four races of the season and led UCCS to a pair of team championships in both scoring meets of the year. Mike English finished second for the Mountain Lions in three of the four races this season and also earned all-conference honors for UCCS.

UCCS will be competing for the second straight season at Willis Case Golf Course after the 2011 RMAC Championships were held on the course. A majority of the scoring runners from that race return, including the leader from the race, Ryan Derrick.

The top 25 runners from the 31 participating teams will earn All-Region honors from the USTFCCCA.

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