Who says preseason polls don’t matter?
The CSU Rams cross country teams finished exactly where they were picked to at the beginning of the year in the pre-season polls, finishing second and third, respectively, Saturday at the Mountain West Conference Championships.
The women finished with 44 points, just nine points behind champion Brigham Young, which was picked in the preseason to run away with the conference title.
Head Coach Bryan Berryhill said that finishing that close with a team like BYU will give the team a great deal of confidence heading into the Regional Championships on Nov. 11.
“In order to beat a team like BYU we have to be clicking on all cylinders, everyone has to bring their A game and we were very close to doing that,” Berryhill said. “I think it’s going to keep them hungry for the next two weeks.”
The women were lead by senior Nicole Feest, who finished third overall with a time of 21:14.1 for the six-kilometer course. Junior April Thomas crossed the finish line second for the Rams and sixth overall with a time of 21:24.3.
The men’s team finished third overall in their race, scoring a total of 88 points. They were just 12 points behind second-place Air Force and 61 behind repeat champion BYU. The Cougars have won six of the last seven Mountain West Conference Championships.
Senior Rob Watson finished first for the Rams and eighth overall with a time of 25:05.5 for the eight-kilometer course. Finishing second for the Rams and 16th overall was sophomore Jeremy Freed, who turned in a time of 25:30.5.
Berryhill said the race was an improvement for the team, which has struggled to find a rhythm in the past few weeks. He said they should continue to improve these next two weeks in practice before traveling to Albuquerque, N.M., for the Regional Championship.
“I thought it was a little better race than the past few,” Berryhill said. “They just need to keep competing harder.”
Sports staff writer Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.