New Mexico Women Race To Third-Place Finish At 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championship

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. ( – The power of the turquoise prevailed. And this time, it's bringing home a trophy.

Sporting their special turquoise vests that are reserved for the largest meets of the year, the University of New Mexico women's cross country team surged to a third-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships as the men clamed 14th place.

Behind All-American runs by Alice Wright and Charlotte Arter, the Lobos women stormed to the highest-ever finish at the national championships in program history as the men posted a strong team performance at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The women's program, which has been competing since the mid-1970s, seized its first podium finish at the national championships under eighth-year head coach Joe Franklin. The top four teams out of the 31 teams competing earn a trip to the podium during the post-race awards ceremonies.

The previous best for the UNM women was fifth place in 2010, but the 2014 Lobos eclipsed that by placing all five of its scorers in the top 100.

Wright and Arter led the pack, running within a second of each other throughout the entire women's six-kilometer race.

Wright, a redshirt freshman, covered the course in 20 minutes, 29.1 seconds, while Arter, a senior, finished in 20:29.9.

It's the second year in a row New Mexico had two All-Americans, which the USTFCCCA awards to the top-40 finishers of each gender. Arter and Sammy Silva were All-Americans last year. For Arter, she is just the second Lobo to claim back-to-back All-American medals since Carole Roybal from 1984-86.

But, as it had been all season, the Lobos had tremendous team running, with the rest of their scorers finishing less than a minute behind.

Calli Thackery crossed the line third for New Mexico, placing 43rd overall in 20:48.8, while Tamara Armoush's time of 21:02.8 and Heleene Tambet's time of 21:10.2 merited 73rd place and 93rd place, respectively.

Nicola Hood (111th place, time of 21:16.2) and Amber Zimmerman (141st, 21:29.9) rounded out the Lobos competing.

After winning the Mountain West Championships on Halloween and taking second at the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships last Friday, the women continued to excel in championships meets.

The Lobo women's performance is the best in the Mountain West since 2003, when now-departed BYU took second with 128 points.

As a team, New Mexico combined for 188 points, the lowest total in program history. Michigan State won with 85 points, and Iowa State took second with 147 points. The Lobos edged fourth-place Georgetown by a single point, 188-189.

Iona's Kate Avery won the race with a time of 19:31.6.

On the men's side, the Lobos combined for a strong team performance, racing to a 14th-place showing after taking seventh a week earlier at the 17-team NCAA Mountain Regional Championships.

Jake Shelley paced the men over the 10-kilometer course with his 50th-place time of 31:04.7. Like he did at the Mountain West Championships—where the men parlayed a ridiculous eight-second team spread en route to winning their sixth-straight title—Shelley was the first Lobo to finish.

Right behind was Elmar Engholm, who, despite losing a shoe 800 meters in, produced a 78th-place time of 31:20.9. Todd Wakefield chipped in a time of 31:30.0 for 93rd, while Ross Matheson (119th, 31:41.4) and Dan Studley (131st, 31:50.3) also scored.

Alex Cornwell (178th, 32:12.6) and Matt Bergin (did not finish) also ran for UNM.

The Lobo men, in spite of missing top runner Adam Bitchell (injury) and Bergin, combined for a team score of 394 points, just a point away from 13th place. Overall, it's the men's eighth top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships, with a program-best finish of eighth place in 2009.

Regular-season and unanimous No. 1 Colorado won the team title with 65 points, while Stanford (98 points) and Portland (175) rounded out the top three.

Oregon's Edward Cheserek repeated at the individual champion, winning in 30:19.4.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. ( – The Boise State women's cross country team finished 11th in their first-ever appearance at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Cross Country Championships, paced by Emma Bates' third-place finish.

The Broncos competed at Indiana State's LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Complex and claimed 392 points.

Bates remained in the lead pack for the entirety of the race, which broke off to a three-woman race at about the halfway (3,000m) mark. Iona's Kate Avery took the national title, running with a sizable lead for the majority of the race. Bates and Sarah Disanza (Wisconsin) battled for second and third positions, with Disanza taking the runner-up title with a five-second cushion. Bates finished the 6-kilometer course in 19:44.5 for third place.

Redshirt senior Marisa Howard made a statement at her first NCAA Cross Country Nationals appearance, placing 28th out of the 253 runners in a time of 20:35.8. Bates and Howard garnered All-America honors with their top-40 finishes, making Bates a 10-time All American and Howard a two-time All American.

Howard joins the ranks of Bates and Melinda Campbell (1999) as the only Bronco women to earn All-America accolades in cross country. Bates is the first Bronco, female or male, to claim All-America status twice in cross country. Bates and Howard are the second duo and first female duo to earn All-America honors in the same year in Boise State history, joining Jose Uribe and Josh Danielson (1996).

The Bronco women went in to Terre Haute ranked 11th by the USTFCCCA Division I National Coaches' Poll and finished 11th at the national championships with 392 points. Freshman and Mountain West Women's Freshman of the Year Emma Hyyppä was the third scoring Bronco, running to a 114th finish in a time of 21:17.2. Rounding out the scoring Broncos were Tessa Murray, 147th (21:31.8); Sarah Hastings, 206th (21:59.9) and freshman Gracie Tostenson, 224th (22:14.8).

Freshman and Boise, Idaho native Andrew Rafla

finished 83rd in the men's 10-kilometer championship race. The Mountain West Men's Freshman of the Year clocked in with a time of 31:26.2 for the fourth-best men's finish in Boise State history.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. ( – The Colorado State men's cross country team did again Saturday what it has done time and time again since Head Coach Art Siemers arrived in Fort Collins – exceed expectations. The Rams, ranked 27th in the USTFCCCA Division I National Coaches Poll coming into Saturday's national championships, ran their way to a 19th-place overall team finish among the nation's top 31 teams.

The increasingly reliable duo consisting of freshman Jerrell Mock and sophomore Jefferson Abbey once again propelled the Rams to a successful performance Saturday, as Mock placed 53rd and Abbey 73rd in the field of 246 harriers. Mock finished second among all freshmen, finishing the 10-kilometer LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in just 31 minutes, 6.3 seconds.

Mock's 53rd-place finish was the perfect cap on an extraordinary freshman campaign.

“Jerrell ran out of his mind for a freshman at the big dance,” said Siemers following the race.

Mock missed All-American honors by just 13 spots. His fellow USTFCCCA All-Region honoree and consistent front-runner Jefferson Abbey followed just behind, crossing the finish line in 31:18.9.

Siemers was blown away not only by Mock and Abbey, but by the complete performance executed by his entire squad.

“The team ran our race strategy perfectly,” he said. “We wanted to start off relaxed and not let the atmosphere get to us. We wanted to stay controlled and march up throughout the race.”

That's exactly what the Rams did. After 3 kilometers, the Rams were running 31st – last in the field. By the 5-kilometer mark, the team moved up to 29th. With just two kilometers left, Colorado State had marched all the way up to 22nd. By the time all 246 runners had crossed the line, CSU had climbed to 19th, eight spots higher than its pre-race ranking.

CSU senior transfer Alex Dillenbeck, who suffered a spike-induced injury after just one kilometer, ran straight through the pain to finish 120th overall with a time of 31:41.6.

“Like a warrior, Alex ran like nothing happened,” Siemers said. It was a display of great mental and physical endurance by the Ram senior, whose wound pierced all the way down to the tendon and required stitches immediately following the race.

Freshman Grant Fischer's impressive season culminated with another reliable performance. Fischer was CSU's fourth man Saturday, taking 144th with a time of 31:53.9.

Dillenbeck wasn't the only senior transfer to step up, as Byron Jones rounded out CSU's top five with a breakout race. Jones finished in 32:04.7, placing 166th and running arguably his best race in a Colorado State uniform. CSU kept its pack split under one minute, signifying the togetherness that led to the Rams' high finish.

Sophomore Adam Hartman also ran well, finishing the course in 32:28.8. Senior Andrew Goodman clocked in at 33:39.6.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. ( – The University of Wyoming's Holly Page placed 71st in the women's race and Amos Bowen was 217th in the men's race at the NCAA Championships on Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind. Page ran the 6-kilometer course in 21:01 to finish just 17 seconds and 31 spots shy of All-America honors in the 253-runner field.

“I thought Holly ran a very tough race today,” UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. “Unfortunately, she got sick this week so she was battling that and also got a large gash down the back of her calf at the start of the race, which might require stitches, so she battled through a lot. For her to be composed during the race and move up throughout was good to see.”

Battling an illness, Page was 115th through the first 2 kilometers in wet and windy conditions, before moving up to 86th at the 4-kilometer mark and passing 15 runners of the final 2 kilometers. Her finish was the fourth-highest ever by a Cowgirl at the NCAA meet.

Bowen was 108th through the first 3 kilometers, but dropped to 189th through 5 kilometers and further from there. The Mountain West was well represented as a group, as the New Mexico men finished 14th and Colorado State was 19th. On the women's side, New Mexico placed third, the highest finish by a conference member since 2003, while Boise State was 11th.

“Amos made huge jumps this year and did a lot of great things, but the next step for him is being able to compete on the big stage,” Berryhill said. “He still needs to improve on that, but he is a junior so hopefully he will get the chance to come back next year to the NCAA meet. Hopefully he'll be able to handle the environment at this meet a little better.”

Page and Bowen were the first Cowboy and Cowgirl duo to qualify for the same NCAA Championships since Mark Korir and Gretchen Johnson in 2007. Page was just the sixth Wyoming female ever to qualify and first since Johnson, while Bowen was the 12th Wyoming male and second consecutive after Garrett Zans qualified last season.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. ( – Air Force senior Riley Coates capped off an impressive 2014 cross country season this afternoon (Nov. 22) by finishing within the top third of the field at the 2014 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Competing against 250 of the nation's top distance runners, Coates placed 77th with a 10K time of 31:20.3.

Recording the program's second-highest individual finish at a national championship meet since 2009, Coates made his way through the large field of runners at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, gaining over 124 places throughout the 10K race. Contributing to Coates' final time were splits of 9:19.8 (3K, 201st), 15:39.5 (5K, 135th) and 25:04.4 (8K, 87th).

“I felt very good about my race today,” Coates said after the meet. “It would've been great to finish in the top 40, but I was still able to finish in the top 80 and I thought that was a solid finish based on how my season has gone. Overall, I'm happy with today's performance and thought it was a great day to cap off my cross country career.”

Coates, who finished fourth among conference runners at the NCAA Championships, cut one minute off of his time from last year's national championship meet, while improving his overall finish by 129 places.

“Riley ran a very steady race today to finish off the season,” Air Force head coach Ryan Cole said of his senior team co-captain. “He moved through the field really well and competed hard against the top distance runners in the country. He's had an extremely solid season ... and not just in terms of racing. He has been a tremendous example of what needs to be done on a daily basis to improve at distance running. Riley's a great representative of the Air Force Academy and our distance running program.”

With the cross country season complete, Coates and his distance teammates turn their attention to the indoor track and field season, which begins on Friday, Dec. 12, with the Air Force Holiday Open.

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. ( - Utah State senior harrier Eric Shellhorn concluded his Aggie cross country career by placing 97th out of 246 runners finishing the 10-kilometer race with a time of 31.30.4 at the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday.

In recap, Shellhorn received first-team all-Mountain West honors in his junior season and just missed capturing two consecutive years earning all-Mountain West honors by placing 15th at this year's Mountain West Championships.

Shellhorn qualified for nationals after placing 20th with a time of 30.21.3, at the NCAA 2014 Mountain Region Championships on Nov. 14 in Albuquerque, N.M. Additionally, Shellhorn received all-region honors for finishing in the top-25 and claimed one of the four individual qualifying spots from the Mountain Region.

This was Shellhorn's first appearance at nationals. Additionally, Shellhorn is only the sixth USU cross country runner to make it to the championships since 2000, joining Brian McKenna (2011), Trevor Ball (2005), Tiffany Strickland (2005), Mike Nielson (2003) and Ashley Johnson (2003).