Boise State's Emma Bates Finishes Second At NCAA Cross Country Championships

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (BroncoSports.com) – Boise State’s Emma Bates raced to an NCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Championship runner-up finish Saturday morning at Indiana State’s LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Complex. Bates, a redshirt junior, finished just three seconds behind senior Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth, clocking 20:03.9 on the 6-kilometer course.

Bates becomes Boise State’s highest NCAA Cross Country Championship finisher, bettering Jose Uribe’s 1996 finish of 12th. The highest Bronco women’s cross country finish came in 1998 from Melinda Campbell (19th).

The Elk River, Minn., native also becomes the seventh Bronco in school history to earn eight NCAA runner-up titles across all sports. She joins an elite group of Broncos becoming the 15th to earn a top-two individual finish at an NCAA Championship, as well as joining Eleni Kafourou (indoor long jump champion; 2009) as the only Bronco women to earn top-two spots at an NCAA championship.

With her second-place finish Bates collects her fifth Unite States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-America honor, adding to her three outdoor and one indoor nods from the 2012 and 2013 track and field seasons.  

After redshirting the 2012 cross country season Bates returned in 2013 to earn four wins and two runner-up titles in as many meets. She went nearly undefeated by a collegian this season, falling only to D’Agostino, Saturday.

Bates and D’Agostino ran the first 4000-meters of the Saturday’s race at the front of the chase pack that was following Iona’s Kate Avery, a sophomore who led significantly from the start of the race. The duo worked to close the lead and overtook Avery near the 5000-meter mark where D’Agostino picked up the pace and Bates hung back to fight for second-place. D’Agostino, the 2012 NCAA runner-up, held on to a solid lead in the final 1000-meters, clocking a time of 20:00.3 for the win, while Bates ran 20:03.9 and Avery 20:05.4 to place second and third, respectively.

Although Bates ran her second-fastest 6-kilometer time of her career, the mark will not stand for any records as the course had to be shortened by 115-meters at the start due to flooding of the start boxes.

Teammate Jeff Howard dealt with the same shortened start in the men’s 10-kilometer race. The redshirt senior raced in his first NCAA championship and final cross country meet of his career, placing 152nd after clocking a time of 31:48.5 on the wet and muddy course.

New Mexico Women Take 10th, Men 11th at NCAA Cross Country Championships (GoLobos.com)

Turquoise is Lobo cross country’s important color reserved for major meets. So when they break out the turquoise uniforms, they know it’s business time.

Sporting their special turquoise uniforms, the University of New Mexico's nationally ranked cross country teams ran to historic performances Saturday at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind.

The 11th-ranked women’s team turned in a 10th-place finish behind All-Americans Sammy Silva and Charlotte Arter, as the men’s team were paced to 11th place by two-time cross country All-American Luke Caldwell.

“You can’t be disappointed with a 10th- and 11th-place finish,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. “We were 10th and 11th out of everybody in the country. … things are definitely going in the right direction.”

It’s the first time in program history — stretching back into the the 1970s — that both teams placed top-12 at an NCAA Cross Country Championship.

On the women’s side, Silva and Arter combined for a stellar one-two punch for UNM, as both placed top-20 and led the women.

Silva, the reigning Mountain Region Women's Athlete of the Year, raced to 12th place overall in 20 minutes, 25.6 seconds, while Arter cross the finish line in 20:30.9 to finish 18th.

“They executed the race plan really well,” Franklin said. “For Sammy to get 12th and Charlotte to get 18th, that’s just a phenomenal run by both of them.”

It’s just the second time in program history — after Natalie Gray (15th) and Ruth Senior (33rd) in 2010 — that New Mexico recorded two All-Americans at single national championship.

The pair are also just the third and fourth runners in school history to place top-20 at the NCAAs, along with Gray and Carole Roybal (19th in 1984 and 13th in 1985).

But the Lobos also relied on their parity for their 10th-place finish.

Calli Thackery covered the women’s six-kilometer course in 21:04.0 to place 67th overall, while Heleene Tambet (146th place, 21:38.1) and Tamara Armoush (149th, 21:39.3) placed top-150 to round out the women’s scorers.

Kirsten Follett (218th, 22:15.5) and Nicole Roberts (232rd, 22:27.2) also ran for the Lobos.  

The women finished 10th out of 31 teams, combining to score 301 points. The Lobos have placed top-10 at the national championships for four straight year, and recorded their second consecutive 10th-place finish.

The women’s team score was also their second-lowest since the number of team expanded to 31 in 1998 (227 points in 2010) .

“They ran really well” Franklin said. “We really had a couple of women run really well. We had a couple that didn’t have a great day, but it wasn’t like it was a disastrous. The thing about our sport is that everyone is going to try.”

The men also ran to their own historic finish, as well, finishing in the top 15 at a national championship for the first time since 2009.

But with Luke Caldwell, that was hardly a surprise.

“He just keeps better and better and better,” Franklin said. “The guy’s running phenomenally well.”

Caldwell earned a second straight cross country All-American nod for his 10th-place individual performance, and finished his UNM cross country career leading the men at nine of the 10 meets at which he has competed.

New Mexico also found solid results from Patrick Zacharias and Adam Bitchell, as both placed in the top 100.

Zacharias’ time of 30:55.9 came in second for the men at 53rd place overall, while Bitchell’s clocking of 31:00.1 finished 61st overall.

Ross Matheson also produced a scoring run for the Lobos, finishing 132 overall in 31:35.2. Sean Stam rounded out the scorers with a 157th-place time of 31:51.2.

Also running for New Mexico were Elmar Engholm (186th place, 32:10.2) and Donovan Torres (223rd, 32:34.6).

As a team, the Lobos produced their best showing in four year, and posted a final team score of 334 points, their best since 2004.

The Lobos were only five points out of 10th place and eight from ninth.

“They did a great job,” Franklin said. “They went out after it. The philosophy was ‘let’s give it a shot a let’s see what happens.’”

Wyoming’s Zans Places 65th at NCAA Championships (GoWyo.com)

The University of Wyoming’s Garrett Zans battled cold and windy conditions to finish 65th at the NCAA Championships on Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind. The senior completed the 10-kilometer course in 31:01 to place just 25 spots and 16 seconds shy of All-America honors in the 256-runner field.

“When you go as an individual the goal is always to All-American, but at the same time you are competing against 250 of the best runners in the nation,” UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. “Garrett beat roughly 190 of those runners, so he ran well. I’m really proud of him for representing this university well. He was up there and in contention for All-America honors with a half mile to go, but he just didn’t have the finish.”

Competing in his final cross country race for the Cowboys, the Rock Springs native competed on a wet, muddy course with temperatures in the low 20s and wind that pushed the temperature into the single digits. Zans started slow and was in 93rd through the first 3 kilometers at 8:42, but moved up to 62nd at the 5k mark in 15:11. He moved up to 53rd with a 24:35 through 8 kilometers, but slipped 12 spots over the final 2 kilometers.

“The original starting line was so muddy that they moved it up 110 meters to a smaller area, so Garrett was forced to start slow due to his box assignment,” Berryhill said. “He moved up well throughout the race in brutal conditions, though. That was a race where you had to be mentally tough with the weather and the course conditions, and Garrett showed that. If you look at his last three cross country races, he’s been rock solid, which bodes well for track this year.”

Zans was the first Wyoming runner to compete at the NCAA Championships since Mark Korir in 2008, while his 65th-place finish was the highest since Korir placed 19th in 2007. Zans was the first Wyoming native to compete for the Cowboys at the NCAA Championships since Buffalo-native Joe Hall in 2000.

Isaiah Bragg Paces Falcons to Top-20 Finish at NCAA Championships (GoAirForceFalcons.com)

With the Academy's best individual finish in the last decade, senior Isaiah Bragg paced the 24th-ranked Air Force men's cross country team to a 20th-place team finish at the NCAA Division I National Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Nov. 23.

Under cold, windy conditions at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, Bragg paced the Falcons through the muddy field with a modified 10K time of 30:57.10 (the course was shortened by 110 meters due to standing water near the start line). His finish was the program's best individual placement at the national meet since 2003 ... and the second-highest finish since 1995.

Sophomore Patrick Corona joined Bragg among the top 100 of the 253-runner field, as he finished 89th in his national debut with a time of 31:14.1. Senior Gavin Owens finished 101st overall with a time of 31:19.8, while classmate Charlie Perkins finished 130th with a time of 31:34.7. Junior Zach Perkins rounded out Air Force's scoring runners with a 140th-place time of 31:42.3.

Juniors Elliot Myers and Riley Coates also competed at the national championship meet, finishing 202nd (32:20.3) and 206th (32:25.3), respectively.

In its first team appearance at the national meet since 2004, Air Force accounted for 419 points - a total that was just four points out of 18th - to finish 20th in the overall standings. With that placement, the Falcons finished ahead of five teams that were ranked higher in the latest USTFCCCA Coaches' Poll, including No. 9 Tulsa, No. 12 Columbia, No. 13 Michigan, No. 18 Princeton and No. 19 Notre Dame.

Rams place 26th at NCAA Cross Country Championship (CSURams.com)

Running in strong winds, the Colorado State men's cross country team competed at the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the first time in nine years Saturday, taking 26th at LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course.

The 26th-place finish is one spot higher than CSU's seed heading in to the race. The Rams tallied a team score of 606. It ranks as the squad's best finish since 2003, when the team took 18th.

"After a nine-year absence from the championships, the men ran really tough in some harsh conditions," commented Head Coach Art Siemers. "We gained some valuable experience for the future and had outstanding performances from Christian Meyer, Alex Munterfering and Jacob Morgan."

Senior Christian Meyer took top honors for CSU, finishing 96th overall, with a time of 31 minutes, 17.2 seconds. Alex Munterfering was less than a second behind him in 97th at 31:18.0. Jacob Morgan clocked 31:26.0, finishing 117th, followed by Ben Larson in 203rd at 32:21.4, Andrew Goodman in 218th at 32:32.7 and Jefferson Abbey in 240th at 33:16.9. Freshman Adam Hartman rounded out the field, finishing in 252nd with a time of 33:54.0.