With fatigue and nagging injuries complicating things for some of CSU’s cross country athletes, it was up to their teammates to pick up the slack.
They did just that.
Running in sunny conditions on a hilly course, CSU’s men’s team finished sixth overall in the Mountain Region meet with a score of 180 points, while the women finished fourth with 99 points.
In the men’s 10-kilometer race, the University of Northern Arizona upset reigning national champions University of Colorado by a score of 74 to 93.
Jorge Torres of CU cruised to the overall title, going wire-to-wire to win with a time of 29:33.
With CSU senior Austin Vigil struggling from fatigue, some of the lesser-known Rams came through to keep the team in the race.
However, it was not enough to get the Rams where they wanted to go.
“We would have liked to have finished better,” said Bill Michel, who finished second for the Rams and 33rd overall with a time of 31:13. “It wasn’t our best race, but it wasn’t a disaster either.”
Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Josh Glaab led the Rams with a 31st place finish overall and a personal-best time of 31:02.
“We ran really good as a team,” Michel said of the overall effort. “We just didn’t run up there with some of the other teams and we need to work on that for next week.”
As opposed to the men’s race, which Torres led from start to finish, the women’s race wasn’t decided until the last 400-meters.
Running alongside Northern Arizona’s Ida Nilsson, Michaela Mannova of Brigham Young University put in a final surge heading toward to finish line to edge out the NAU sophomore by a second with a time of 20:31.
Defending NCAA champion BYU won the meet in a decisive manner, placing its first five runners in the top ten, good for 29 points.
CSU’s women’s team put together one of its toughest performances of the season – yet it still might not be enough to get the team to nationals.
With lead runners Meg Larson (flu, fatigue) and Kim Leal (tendonitis of the knee) suffering from different aliments, the other Rams did what they could to help the team reach the Nov. 23 NCAA National Championship meet in Terre Haute, Ind.
Feeling fit for the first time all season, junior Katie Yemm was the first Ram to cross the finish line, at 13th overall with a time of 21:36 and qualifying for nationals as an individual.
Though the team did not finish in the top three where it wanted to, Leal said the women gave it their all to finish where they did.
“I think that for where we are and how much we’ve been through this season, there is not much else we could have done,” she said.
Though the men’s team has enough points to qualify for an at-large bid to the national meet, the women have to wait until later today or Tuesday before they know whether they will join their male teammates or not.