BOZEMAN, Mont. – Nov. 2 – Southern Utah’s men raced to several all-conference finishes on Saturday as the squad placed second at the Big Sky Cross Country Championship, following closely behind No. 2 nationally-ranked Northern Arizona. The Thunderbird women raced to a fifth place finish at the Montana State-hosted meet.
“We are studs, all the men and all the women,” head coach Eric Houle excitedly remarked after the meet. “The men came in and really just went for it. They were not intimidated by Northern Arizona, as the No. 2 team in the country, and they just went after them.”
Senior Ryan Barrus led the Thunderbirds to the second place finish, racing to a fourth-place time of 24:38.04 and following right on the heels of Northern Arizona’s third-place runner Nathan Weitz (24:38.01). Mike Tate and Dylan Marx cross the finish line next for the Thunderbirds, recording fifth- and sixth-place respective times of 24:51.02 and 24:54.09. Hayden Hawks and Clinton Rhoton tallied the rest of the men’s points with times of 25:09.99 and 25:18.10, finishing 11th and 13th respectively. As top-ten overall finishers, Barrus, Tate and Marx each earned all-conference honors.
Northern Arizona’s men took home the team’s seventh consecutive title with a score of 25 points, followed by Southern Utah’s second-place score of 39. The hosting Montana State team finished third with 89 points, followed by Weber State (114) in fourth and Eastern Washington (137) in fifth.
The T-Bird women were led once again by Shelli Mogensen, as the senior raced to a 19th-place finish with a time of 17:44.7. Dayna VanArsdol and Ashley Hawks came next for Southern Utah, recording consecutive 27th- and 28th-place times of 17:54.9 and 17:55.1. The scoring runners concluded with Aubrey Bryson (17:57.9) and Morgan Vorwaller (18:00.8), who placed 31st and 34th respectively.
Weber State took the women’s title for the third consecutive season with 55 points, followed by Northern Arizona (64) in second place, Montana State (101) in third, Sacramento State (124) in fourth. The Thunderbirds placed fifth overall with 139 points.
“The women really stepped it up today,” Houle said. “We lost most of our scoring team from last season and also had two of our current top five unable to compete this weekend, but to come in and break into the conference top five in spite of all that is really a credit to what they are doing.”
Southern Utah Cross Country will be back to compete on Nov. 15, as the squads travel to Odgen, Utah, to race at the NCAA Mountain Regionals.