2014 Mountain West Cross Country Championships Set For Friday

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2014 Mountain West Cross Country Championships, hosted by Fresno State, get underway Friday, Oct. 31 at Woodward Park in Fresno, California. This is the first time Fresno State will host the MW Cross Country Championships since joining the league in 2012.

Competition begins at 10 a.m. PT with the women’s six-kilometer race. The men’s 8K race is scheduled for a 10:45 a.m. PT start. Both races will be broadcast live and for free on the Mountain West Network, which you can view here: http://www.themw.com/#!/watch-live.

The New Mexico women, currently ranked No. 10 in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Coaches Poll, have won the last six MW championships, while the No. 18 Lobo men have won five straight Conference titles.

Two nationally-ranked teams figure to challenge to the Lobos for the title in each race. On the women’s side, Boise State enters the meet No. 23 in the nation, while on the men’s side, Colorado State checks in at No. 25.

Boise State’s Emma Bates is the defending champion in the women’s race. The senior from Elk River, Minnesota, was runner-up at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championship. She’s posted a pair of sixth-place finishes at two of the nation’s premier regular-season races. At the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin, on Oct. 17, she ran a 19:47 on the 6K course. That time is currently the top 6K mark in the Conference. In September at the Roy Griak Invite in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, she completed the 6K course in 21:02.5.

New Mexico’s Charlotte Arter, runner-up in the 2012 MW Championship and fourth last year, figures to be in the championship mix again in 2014. Arter won the Notre Dame Invitational earlier this season, setting a new course record in the process, as she completed the 5K in 16:09.3.

Other top women’s runners include Fresno State’s Annemarie Schwanz, who blitzed through the Fresno State Invite’s 4.2K course back on Sept. 5, with a time of 14:37.2. Boise State’s Marisa Howard (second in 6K at 20:21) and Wyoming’s Holly Page (first in three miles at 17:08.2 and fourth in 6K at 20:31) figure to be among those running in the lead pack.

A new individual champion will be crowned on the men’s side, with several runners gunning for the top spot. New Mexico senior Adam Bitchell, who finished third in 2013 and sixth in 2012, owns the fastest five-mile time in the MW this season, posting a 23:35.8 at the Notre Dame Invitational. Wyoming’s Amos Bowen currently holds the top 8K time in the Conference, with his 23:43 that he posted at the Washington Invitational on Oct. 4. Andrew Goodman of Colorado State possesses the league’s top 5K mark at 14:43. He finished ninth at the MW Championship last year. Teammate Jerrell Mock has paced the Rams most of the season, and his time of 24:36.9 at Pre-Nationals in Terra Haute, Indiana, stands as his best 8K time in 2014. San José State freshman Josue Gonzalez, a two-time MW Athlete of the Week award winner this season, is another runner to keep an eye on. His best 8K time this season was a 23:59 at the Santa Clara University Bronco Invitational on Oct. 18.

Other men’s runners to watch are Boise State’s David Elliott (fourth in 8K at 24:10), Wyoming’s Aaron Derner (first in four miles at 20:44.4) and Utah State’s Eric Shellhorn (second in four miles at 20:55.3).

Complete results, recap, post-race interviews and photo galleries will all be available on TheMW.com at the 2014 MW Cross Country Championships Central page: http://www.themw.com/#!/page/championship_c-xc.