Both USU Men And Women Claim WAC Cross Country Titles
Oct. 28, 2006
FRESNO, Calif. - Two. It is the number of Western Athletic Conference cross country titles won by Utah State on Saturday as both the Aggie men and women's teams won league championships at Fresno, Calif.
Two. The number of back-to-back WAC titles by the Aggie men's team since joining the league last year. Two. The number of conference titles won by the USU women, whose only other league cross country crown came in 1998 when USU won the Big West title.
The Aggie men posted a fairly easy victory as they placed five runners in the top eight individually en route to 26 points. Boise State was the runner-up with 37 points, while Idaho was a distant third with 80 points in the seven-team race.
USU's Vance Twitchell was the meet runner-up individually placing 28 seconds behind Boise State's Forest Braden. Twitchell, a senior from Helena, Mont., covered the eight-kilometer course in 24:43 to pace the five Aggies who finished in the top eight of the race.
On the women's side, USU placed three in the top seven individually, including being paced by Twitchell's wife Jennifer, who was fourth at 17:58.8 on the five-kilometer course.
The Aggie women scored 63 points to edge runner-up Nevada, which totaled 70 points. San Jose State was third with 80 points in the nine-team race.
The pair of team victories by the Aggies marked the first time a school accomplished that feat at the WAC Championships since Rice won the men's and women's titles in 1999.
"I am so dang excited," said USU cross country coach Gregg Gensel, who has now guided his teams to seven cross country championships in his career. "This race was a team race as the fifth runners on both sides ran their best races of the year. That made the difference."
The men's fifth runner was Clements, who placed eighth to give the Aggies the win, while on the women's side freshman April Rowland was 29th overall, for the second-best finish by a fifth-member in the meet.
USU was rewarded for its team finishes as Gensel was named the WAC Coach of the Year on both the men's and women's side, his seventh and eighth such cross country honors since 1992.
In addition Jones was named the men's WAC Freshman of the Year, following in the footsteps of Wold, who earned the honor a year ago.
For the men, the conference title was not only their second in a row, but third in the last five years and sixth in the last 15 seasons.
Utah State's next action will be at the NCAA Mountain Regionals at Albuquerque, N.M. on Nov. 11. The NCAA Championships will take place at Terre Haute, Ind. On Nov. 20.
MEN'S TEAM RESULTS 1. UTAH STATE 26 2. Boise State 37 3. Idaho 80 4. Louisiana Tech 89 5. San Jose State 140 6. Fresno State 178 7. New Mexico State 182