LARAMIE, Wyo. (August 21, 2018) â€“ The University of Wyoming menâ€™s and womenâ€™s cross country teams reported for fall camp today, marking the beginning of the 2018 season that will showcase a home meet for the first time in seven years. Under the direction of seventh-year head coach Bryan Berryhill, associate head coach Amanda Clower and menâ€™s cross country coach Scott Dahlberg, the UW harriers will travel to Medicine Bow Lodge for the third season in a row for a five-day camp.
â€œOne of the nice things is cell phones donâ€™t work up there, so theyâ€™re forced to interact with each other,â€ said Berryhill. â€œOne of the benefits you get from going to camp is that bond you get over those five days, especially those freshmen coming in. They donâ€™t know the upperclassmen very well, and itâ€™s kind of hard to get to know them in a campus setting. I really feel like we get a lot accomplished, as far as becoming a closer team, over those five days.â€
Clower, in her second season as associate head coach, will oversee the Cowgirls cross country squad. Last season, the UW women placed eighth at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships before finishing 15th at the NCAA Mountain Regional, one of the strongest regions in the nation. The Cowgirls will look to seniors Kiah Leonard, Emily Person, Solana Quistorff and Regan VanDePol for leadership on this young team. Leonard and Person both scored points in three meets last season by finishing among UWâ€™s top five. Person and VanDePol finished second and third, respectively, among Cowgirls at the prestigious Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville, Ky. Quistorff raced in one meet in 2017 but will look to help the other seniors replace the losses of Lauren Hamilton, Kerry White, Quinn DeStefano and Meredith Heneage, who all depart the team due to graduation. White and Hamilton combined to be UWâ€™s top finisher in all five meets, and regularly finished first and second on the team throughout the season.
Juniors Calbi Ausmann, Ashley Bock, Kacey Doner, Ashley Urman and Madison Yager round out the Cowgirlsâ€™ upperclassmen with experience and strong finishes from 2017. Bock, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., is UWâ€™s top returning finisher from both the MW Championships and the NCAA Mountain Regional, as she finished 46th and 87th overall at those races, respectively. Ausmann finished third for the Cowgirls at the CSU Duals, while Kacey Doner was the fourth Cowgirl to cross the line at the Pre-nationals race.
â€œWeâ€™re going to have to find some new leaders there,â€ Berryhill said. â€œWeâ€™ve kind of lost our leaders from the team last year, so weâ€™ll see who wants to take up the leadership role. While thereâ€™s maybe not as much experience, we think pretty highly of this freshman class coming in, and weâ€™re excited to see how they can step in and get into that top five for us.â€
Colorado Springs, Colo., native Allison Mann is the only sophomore on the roster, and she is joined by nine freshmen on this yearâ€™s team. Scottsbluff, Neb., native Kaylee Bentley, Sioux Falls, S.D., native Jasmyne Cooper, Littleton Colo., native Addi Iken and Kaylee Kearse from Peyton, Colo., will join this yearâ€™s squad as a freshman. The other five freshmen include Zia MacDermid from Palmerston North, New Zealand, Katelyn Mitchem from Broomfield, Colo., Piper Morris from Thornton, Colo., Michelle Renner from Lakewood, Colo., and Victoria Tenpenny from Page, Ariz.
In his second season at Wyoming, Dahlberg will oversee the menâ€™s cross country team that returns its top six runners from 2017 while bringing in proven talent. The Cowboys finished 2017 sixth at the MW Championships and ninth at the NCAA Mountain Regional. Michael Downey and Calum Kepler return as seniors to the squad. Downey finished 2017 on a high note, as he was the Cowboysâ€™ second finisher in both the MW Championships and the NCAA Mountain Regional, finishing 36th and 46th, respectively. Kepler never finished lower than sixth on the team in any race last season, and he brings back strong depth for the Cowboys. Additionally, the Brown and Gold will enjoy the return of redshirt senior Jonah Henry and senior Ricky Faure, who both enter the 2018 season with a clean bill of health.
â€œWe have high expectations of the menâ€™s team,â€ Berryhill said. â€œWe have a lot of experience coming back, we bring in some talented freshman and a Division II All-American and we bring back Jonah (Henry) and Ricky (Faure). So, we have a lot of depth and talent there. We have to put it all together. Our goal going into it is to try to get the team to the NCAA Championships for the first time in a long, long time. I think thatâ€™s what the guys expect, too.â€
Returning juniors Harry Ewing, Christopher Henry and Daniel Hintz all recorded strong seasons in 2017, as all three earned points in every race during the year. Henry was the Cowboysâ€™ top finisher in four of the five races, including a 38th overall finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional. Ewing crossed the line first for the Brown and Gold at the MW Championships, placing 26th overall. Hintz was among UWâ€™s top four finishers in every meet, including finishing second for Wyoming at the Pre-Nationals meet. Additionally, Paul Roberts will join the Cowboys as a junior from CSU-Pueblo, where he was a Division II All-American last season.
Westcliffe, Colo., native Jerald Taylor is the lone sophomore on the Cowboys squad, but he has plenty of experience as he picked up points for UW in three meets last season, including a 78th-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional. The talented pool of incoming freshman includes Laramie, Wyo., native Philip Henry (the third Henry brother on this yearâ€™s team), Fort Collins, Colo., native Blake Hubert, Will Persin from Lafayette, Ind., and Albert Steiner, a Laramie, Wyo., product and high school teammate of Philip Henry.
The Cowboys and Cowgirls open the 2018 cross country season next Friday, August 31, when they host their first home meet since 2011. Wyoming will welcome Air Force, Colorado, Colorado State and Northern Colorado to the Little America Golf Course in Cheyenne, Wyo., starting at 6 p.m. (MT).