New Mexico's Wright Races To Victory At 2014 NCAA Mountain Regional Championship

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – New Mexico redshirt freshman Alice Wright raced to victory at the 2014 NCAA Mountain Regional Championship, highlighting a day of top individual performances by Mountain West harriers on Nov. 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Palo Alto, California, site of the West Regional Championship.

Wright, a fourth-place finisher at the 2014 Mountain West Cross Country Championships, made full use of the home-course advantage at regionals. She finished the 6K race on the UNM Golf Course in 20:51.10. The No. 9 Lobos finished second in the team standings to earn their seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, which take place on Nov. 22 in Terra Haute, Indiana.

Indiana State will host the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. The men’s 10K race will begin at 12 p.m. ET, followed by the women’s 6K at 1:15 p.m. ET.

The Lobos weren’t the only MW women’s team to punch a ticket to nationals. Boise State’s women’s team, ranked No. 25 in the final USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll, tied for second in the team standings with host Stanford at the West Regional Championship. The Broncos earned the second automatic qualifier spot thanks to head-to-head victories over the Cardinal. On the men’s side Colorado State and No. 13 New Mexico earned an at-large bids after placing fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Mountain Regional Championship. It’s the sixth consecutive year the Lobos have qualified both men’s and women’s teams for nationals, and seventh straight year for the women.

Individually, Wyoming’s Amos Bowen and Holly Page qualified for the men’s and women’s national meet, respectively. Bowen finished sixth at the Mountain Regional Championship with a time of 28:56, while Page took sixth in the women’s race, completing the 6K course in 21:18. Both Wyoming runners, along with Wright, earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors for finishing in the top-25.

Boise State’s Andrew Rafla, Air Force’s Riley Coates and Utah State’s Eric Shellhorn will also be competing in the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Coates and Shellhorn finished 19th (30:20.93) and 20th (30:21.33) at the Mountain Regional Championship to earn their spots, and All-Region accolades. Rafla, the MW Freshman of the Year, competed at the West Regional Championship and finished the 10K course in 29:50.6, good for 11th-place.

Two-time MW individual champion (2013-14) and 2013 NCAA runner-up, Emma Bates of Boise State placed second individually at the West Regional Championship. Her time of 19:34.2 was less than three seconds behind Arizona State’s Shelby Houlihan, one of the favorites to win the national title. Houlihan crossed the line in 19:31.6. Bates’ teammate Marisa Howard continued her stellar senior season with a fifth-place finish (20:04.9), and both garnered All-Region accolades. Emma Hyyppa, the MW Freshman of the Year, finished 28th (21:04), Tessa Murray was 30th (21:06) and Sarah Hastings was 38th (21:14) to round of the scoring for Boise State. Other MW teams competing at the West Regional Championship were San Diego State (27th), UNLV (28th) and San José State (33rd).

In the Mountain Regional Championship women’s 6K, two other MW teams turned in top-six performances. Wyoming placed fifth and Colorado State took sixth. Nevada (11th), Air Force (15th) and Utah State (16th) also represented the MW in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Individually, New Mexico’s Charlotte Arter (3rd, 21:05.93), Calli Thackery (10th, 21:27.39) and Nicola Hood (24th, 21:52.56), Colorado State’s McKenna Spillar (15th, 21:40.84), Alexandra Will (19th, 21:47.02) and Rachel Rudel (20th, 21:47.82) received All-Region awards, as did Wyoming’s Kerry White (21st, 21:47.93) and Nevada’s Demerey Kirsch (22nd, 21:48.80) and Emily Myers (23rd, 21:49.72).

Colorado State’s Jefferson Abbey was the top finisher for the Rams in the Mountain Regional Championship men’s race. The Ram sophomore finished the 10K course in 29:58.38. Teammate Jerrell Mock was one spot behind in 11th with a time of 29:59.89, and both Mock and Abbey were awarded All-region accolades, as was Ross Matheson of New Mexico who finished 24th overall in 30:24.28. In the team standings, Colorado State placed fifth, while host and No. 14 New Mexico was seventh and No. 29 Air Force was ninth. Wyoming claimed 10th and Utah State was 11th out of 14 teams. Top-ranked Colorado and No. 10 Northern Arizona earned the automatic bids from the Mountain Regional Championship.

Boise State senior David Elliott cracked the top-20 at the West Regional Championship with a 19th-place finish (29:57.5) and was named an All-Region performer. The Broncos were eighth in the team standings, with San José State 18th and Fresno State 25th.