FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Oct. 27 - Thunderbird Cross Country turned heads today as the women finished second and the men finished third at Southern Utah's inaugural championship in the Big Sky Conference, held at Northern Arizona's Buffalo Park course. The T-Birds' efforts also resulted in six SUU athletes, four women and two men, garnering all-Big Sky team status with top-ten individual finishes.
The women's squad scored a total of 36 points in the women's 5k, finishing only seven points behind two-time champion Weber State (29). Northern Arizona followed in third with 112 points with Idaho State placing fourth with 126.
Jamie Smith marked the first Southern Utah finish on the women's side, placing fourth overall with a time of 17:11.9, about 12 seconds behind conference champion Amber Henry (WSU). Danielle Jewkes (17:27.5), Kirsten Bradford (17:31.4) and Sylvia Bedford (17:32.2) scored next for the T-Birds, crossing the finish line consecutively in sixth, seventh and eighth place and earning positions on the all-conference team. The women's score was wrapped up by Shelli Mogensen with an 11th-place time of 17:48.6, marking a 36-second gap between the first and fifth runners.
Southern Utah's men entered the conference with a third-place team score of 57, only three points behind Big Sky runner-up Weber State (54). Northern Arizona took its sixth-consecutive conference title with a score of 24, while Montana State finished fourth with 97 points.
Nate Jewkes represented the Thunderbirds in the lead pack of the men's 8k with a fourth-place time of 24:58.5, finishing only three seconds behind individual champion Brian Schrader (NAU). Ryan Barrus also raced to a position on the all-Big Sky team with a sixth-place finish and time of 25:17.0. Elijah Rono (25:53.2) and Clinton Rhoton (26:00.8) scored next for the T-Birds with 13th- and 16th-place respective finishes while Devan Antczak wrapped up the men's score with a 18th-place time of 26:09.5.
Southern Utah Cross Country is set to compete next at the NCAA Mountain Regionals, which will take place in two weeks on Nov. 9 in Fort Collins, Colo.