University Of Wyoming Cross Country Travel To Utah For NCAA Mountain Regional

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LARAMIE, Wyo. (Nov. 8, 2017) – The University of Wyoming cross country team will face a tough field of competition once again on Friday, heading to Logan, Utah, for the 2017 NCAA Mountain Regional. Both the Cowboys and Cowgirls finished 11th in the team standings at the 2016 regional meet, which was held on the same course as this season’s meet, the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course in Logan.

Out of the nine regions that compose NCAA Division I cross country, the Mountain Region perennially provides one of the most competitive meets. This season, the men’s field features four of the nation’s top eight teams as ranked by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA). Northern Arizona is the top-ranked team in Division I, while BYU is second, Colorado is fifth and Colorado State is eighth. With Southern Utah ranked 12th, Air Force ranked 16th and Utah State ranked 23rd, the 18-team men’s field for the NCAA Mountain Regional features seven of the nation’s top 23 teams.

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On the women’s side, five of the region’s 20 teams are ranked in the USTFCCCA top 30, while Utah and Air Force are receiving votes for the top 30. Colorado is the top-ranked team nationally, while 10-time defending Mountain West champion New Mexico is ranked No. 2 in the country. Host Utah State is 15th, while BYU is 18th and Northern Arizona is 29th.

The Cowboys are coming off a sixth-place finish at the Mountain West Championships, while the Cowgirls took eighth at the conference meet. Sophomore Harry Ewing led the Cowboy effort with a 20th-place finish, while Lauren Hamilton was tops for the Cowgirls in 31st place. Ewing improved 20 places on his finish from last season’s Mountain West Championships, while junior Michael Downey, the second Cowboy finisher, recorded the best conference finish of his career with a 36th-place performance.

Senior Michael Kesy is the most experienced regional competitor for the Cowboys, as he turned in 83rd-place finishes in both 2013 and 2014 at the regional level. Of the seven runners in the Cowboy lineup for Friday’s meet, sophomore Christopher Henry is the highest returning finisher from last season’s regional competition. He took 65th at last year’s meet, clocking in at 32:40, while his older brother, Jonah, was the top finisher for Wyoming in 41st place. Downey, fellow junior Calum Kepler, and freshman Jerald Taylor will each be making their regional debuts for Wyoming on Friday.

The younger Henry has emerged as a leader for the Cowboy cross country team this season, finishing as the team’s top runner in three of four races while his brother redshirts the 2017 campaign. Ewing will look to ride his momentum from the conference championships in order to improve on a 71st-place regional finish from last season, while fellow sophomore Daniel Hintz will look to improve on a 101st-place finish from last year’s regional meet.

Hamilton and fellow senior Kerry White are the most accomplished runners at the regional level for the Cowgirls, each having competed at the NCAA Mountain Regional thrice. Hamilton has moved higher in the individual standings each year, from 95th in 2014 to 42nd in 2015 to an impressive 33rd-place finish in 2016. White, who is coming off a 41st-place finish at the MW Championships, has recorded three career top-50 finishes at the regional meet, including a 48th-place effort last season that was good for third on the squad behind Hamilton and Cowgirl legend Audra DeStefano.

The only two additional Cowgirls returning from last year’s regional competition squad are DeStefano’s younger sister, senior Quinn DeStefano, and sophomore Kacey Doner. Quinn DeStefano placed 103rd at last season’s meet, while Doner was 128th. Junior Kiah Leonard, who will be making the trip to Logan, posted an 89th-place finish at the 2015 regional meet. Sophomore Ashley Bock will be competing at the regional meet for the first time, as will junior Emily Person.

The 6-kilometer women’s championship race will begin at 10:15 a.m. MT at the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course in Logan. The men’s 10-kilometer race, the first race of that length this season, will commence at 11:15 a.m. MT. Stay tuned to @wyo_track on twitter for more information about the 2017 NCAA Mountain Regional.

 

–NSL—