Aggie Harriers Sweep WAC Cross Country Championships
Nov. 1, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -
Utah State made it a clean sweep at the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships held here Saturday morning as both its men and women won team titles. Overall, it is the fourth-straight WAC Championship for the Aggie men and the eighth team title in the last 17 years, while the USU women won their second WAC Championship in the last three years and third-ever team title.
Junior Jason Holt (Fort Collins, Colo.) led Utah State on the men's side as he finished first overall with a time of 25:34.80 to earn WAC Male Athlete of the Year honors, while senior Ashley Johnson (Paradise, Utah) finished third overall on the women's side in her first race of the season with a time of 18:29.80. Head Coach Gregg Gensel was also honored by the WAC, as he was named the conference's coach of the year on both the men's and women's side.
"We knew going into the meet we had a chance to accomplish our goal of winning a WAC Championship for both the men and women and I couldn't be more proud of our runners," said Gensel. "We have always stressed the fact that we want to have good distance runners in both track and cross country, and this is a testament to how hard all of our kids work."
Utah State's men finished with 47 points, while Boise State finished second with 56 points. Fresno State placed third with 65 points, followed by Idaho (85), Louisiana Tech (122), New Mexico State (129) and San Jose State (214).
Utah State's women's team finished with 69 points, while New Mexico State placed second with 87 points. Idaho placed third with 91 points, followed by Nevada (135), Boise State (149), San Jose State (154), Fresno State (168), Hawai'i (231) and Louisiana Tech (283).
Along with Holt, Utah State had two other runners earn first-team all-conference honors as senior Ben Kessen (La Crescenta, Calif.) finished third overall with a time of 25:44.80 and junior Steven Strickland placed seventh in 26:13.80. Other finishers on the men's side include freshmen Daniel Howell and Brian McKenna who placed 16th (26:53.80) and 20th (27:09.30), respectively, while sophomore Hunter Nelson was 23rd (27:13.90), senior Heath Wing was 26th (27:24.40), sophomore Chio Lopez finished 33rd (27:53.50), and sophomore Nick Bolinder placed 37th (27:58.50).
"Our men were not as healthy as they would have liked today and it was a gutsy performance on their part to pull through and win the championship with all the pressure they were feeling," added Gensel.
On the women's side, Utah State had five of the top 15 finishers as Kim Quinn, Caroline Berry, Ruth Hilton and Alicia Holt all earned second-team all-WAC honors, joining Johnson who earned first-team all-conference accolades. Quinn, a sophomore from South Jordan, Utah finished ninth overall with a time of 18:55.30. Berry, a senior from Sandy, Utah placed 10th in 18:57.80. Hilton, a freshman from St. George, Utah was 11th with a time of 18:58.30, and Holt, a sophomore from Fort Collins, Colo., placed 15th with a time of 19:04.80.
"Our women have been running together as a team all year and that is how they run the race today," commented Gensel.
Both the Aggie men and women's teams will be in action in two weeks at the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Fort Collins, Colo.