THIS WEEK IN THE WAC
Friday, August 29
Texas-Pan American at RGV Relays Edinburg, Texas
Seattle at Seattle U/ Univ. of Washington Open Seattle, Wash.
Saturday, August 30
Bakersfield at Mark Covert Classic 5k Brea, Calif.
Chicago State at UIC Opener Romeoville, Ill.
Utah Valley at USU Invitational Logan, Utah
Missouri-Kansas City at Bob Timmons Classic Lawrence, Kan.
WAC SEASON OPENS THIS WEEKEND
The 2014 WAC Cross Country season kicks off this weekend with six teams in action. Seattle U and Texas-Pan American begin on Friday, while Bakersfield, Chicago State, Kansas City and Utah Valley get under way on Saturday.
Utah Valley University Regionally Ranked
Western Athletic Conference squad earned preseason recognition after being ranked in the top 15 of their respective regional rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Utah Valley appears in the men’s Mountain Region rankings placing 14.
Seattle U Redhawks
The Redhawks enter the 2014 season with head coach Trisha Steidl, who is starting her ninth season with Seattle U… the Seattle U men return with redshirt junior and team captain Baxter Arguinchona, junior Gus Arroyo, and redshirt junior Collin Overbay…the Redhawks also bring in top newcomers, redshirt freshman Joe Charbonneau, freshman Joseph Nakao and freshman Ben Monk… the men return with a very young team but Steidl feels there will be significant improvement as the year goes along…the women return standout senior Sophie Curatilo, 2013 second team All-WAC, sophomore Lila Rice, the 2013 WAC Freshman of the Year, and junior team captain Taylor de Laveaga…top newcomers on the women’s side include junior transfer from Point Loma Nazarene, Alisa Poplawski, and freshman Johanna Erickson… Steidl expects the women’s team to compete for the WAC title in 2014 after a second-place WAC finish in 2013.
The Roadrunners return a solid squad highlighted by sophomore LaShya Morgan, who ran number one for them last fall as a freshman…Morgan is joined by returning fifth-year seniors Megan Thompson and Jorey Braughton… Thompson returns this fall from a previous season injury but is believed to be ready by the start of the 2014 season…Roadrunner freshman standout Ariana Mariscal will try to translate her success on the track into a solid cross country season to start her sophomore year… rounding out the top returning runners are junior Kaylee Moyer and sophomore Tori Blackmon, who look to improve on their 2013 seasons… joining the team as new runners are freshman Angel Valdez and Bakersfield College transfer Orieth Rodriguez, who are believed to challenge for top five finishes this fall… director Mansur-Wentworth hopes that their schedule prepares them for the WAC Championships so that they can improve not only on individual results but together as a team.
Grand Canyon 'Lopes
The 'Lopes gear up for the 2014 season under the direction of second-year coach Michael Hoffmann after both teams finished seventh at the WAC Championships last year… both the men and women look to improve off their 2013 seasons and place in the top half of the conference… the women’ team top returner is junior Kelsi Klotter and the top newcomer is freshman Mariah Montoya from Mesa, Ariz.... on the men’s side, the 'Lopes return senior Brandon Kocmoud and Tyler Vandyke, who ran for the GCU track team last season… the men also welcome their top newcomer Mathew Jackson, a junior transfer student from Gillette Community College, and incoming freshman Chris Baker from Greeley, Colo. who should have the opportunity to be in the 'Lope’s top five runners… Coach Hoffman says he expects his team to be a lot better at the conference meet.
University of Texas-Pan American
The Broncs host the WAC Championships on Nov. 1 and look to put together a strong showing in front of the home crowd… the men’s squad brings back several runners from last season’s team, namely graduate student Luis Serrano, junior Raymond Flowers and sophomore Arturo Ponce… along with a handful of newcomers, the Broncs welcome transfer Jose Juan Wells of Central Arizona College… head coach Xavier Richardson has high expectations for the men’s team describing them as a talented group with good leadership and aspirations for a top spot in the conference… on the women’s side, the Broncs return squad senior Rebekah Rodriguez and sophomore Savanna Antley who were top finishers at the WAC Championships last year… the incoming freshman group includes Teresa Sova, Jennifer Zapata, and Alexandria Munoz who are expected to contribute right away… even as a young team Richardson looks forward to watching them grow and develop and expects them to greatly improve their sixth place finish from last year.
Chicago State Cougars
The Cougars men’s team returns this season with senior DeShaunte Lewis, senior David Prchal, and sophomore Charles Blackhawk… Steve Powenski says Blackhawk could very well be their most improved time wise from last season but also has very high expectations for incoming freshman DiJon Smith, Desmond Meyer, James Saylor and Andrew Huff… on the women’s side the Cougars will be led by senior Oslyn Melissa and followed by Prisca Roys-Dossou and junior Jusilya Scott, who is prepared to reach higher goals in 2014… the other returners, sophomores Angelica Hampton and Tochukwu Akujieze are continuing to improve… the women’s team also welcomes two incoming transfer students from Morton College who will make an immediate impact, Veronica Tovar and Edith Gonzalez… followed by incoming freshman, Leeza Campbell, Cailyn Howard and Daeja Hooks… this is not only the largest women’s squad in school history but one that is made up principally of middle and long distance runners… Powenski hopes for his teams to compete at the Division 1 level and continue to improve individual performance as well as setting standards for being part of their program.
University of Missouri- Kansas City
While the Kangaroo men’s team does not bring in any newcomers this season, they do return a strong starting team led by James Barnett, Griffin Humphreys, Nathan Keown, Bryce Miller, Taylor Wardall, and Alex Nail… the men’s squad is expected to be the best squad in school history and cap the season with a WAC Championship, while being ranked in the top ten in the region and placing at least one student-athlete into the NCAA Championships… the women’s team returns starters Courtney Frerichs, Katie Tuck, Kelly Carpenter, Sarah Fogarty and welcomes top newcomers Chandler Carreon and Tabitha Griffith… for the women they are setting their sights on the WAC Championship, while being ranked in the top-15 in the region and returning NCAA participant Courtney Frerichs along with one other student-athlete to the NCAA Championship.
Utah Valley University
A year removed from winning Utah Valley’s first-ever Western Athletic Conference championship, the UVU’s men’s cross country team has its sights set on repeating again in 2014… first team All-WAC performers Chris Brower, Jason Lynch and Josh Monsen all return for coach Scott Houle, the 2013 WAC Men’s Coach of the Year, as well as second team all-conference selections Seth Gutzwiller and Trac Norris, who will both be the men’s team captains this season… the Wolverines welcome incoming freshman Alex Pearson and Dillon Emery… women’s senior Ivie Gonsalves will look to anchor the Wolverines, along with second team all-conference performer Darian Sharp… with a young women’s roster, Houle will look for big contributions from sophomore transfer Jasmine Nesbitt of Idaho State and freshmen McKayla Morgan and Makayla Stepp… while the men’s team hopes to win another WAC Championship the women’s team will strive to earn their first WAC title.
New Mexico State Aggies
The Aggies gear up for the 2014 season under head coach Orin Richburg… the women’s team is led by senior Diana Hawk, 2013 first team All-Conference, and Megan McNally, 2013 second team All-Conference… top incoming freshman include Crissey Amberg, Cassey Amberg and Mikayla Pulliam… on the men’s side, Hab Rubio returns as a stand out performer, 2013 second team All-Conference, along with Nathan Starr and Evan Bekes… the men’s top three newcomers are Jereme Santistevan, Tyler Forder and Herbert Beyale III… Both the men’s and women’s teams look to improve on last year’s team finish as the women finished fourth and the men finished sixth for the 2013 season… the Aggies hope to increase the number of first and second team All-Conference student-athletes and compete for the WAC Cross Country Freshman of the Year.
The 2014 WAC Cross Country Championship travels to Edinburg, Texas. This year’s championships will be hosted by the University of Texas-Pan American and will take place at the Palm View Golf Course. The Utah Valley men will look to win a second-consecutive WAC title. Idaho claimed the women’s title last season.
November 1, 2014
Course: Palm View Golf Course
The 2014 Cross Country Regionals will be held at nine sites throughout the country on Friday, Nov. 14. WAC teams will be represented in four locations. The West Region will be held in Palo Alto, Calif., (Stanford). The Mountain Region will be held in Albuquerque, N.M. (New Mexico), the South Central Regional (Arkansas) will take place in Fayetteville, Ark., and the Midwest Region (Bradley) will take place in Peoria, Ill.
November 14, 2014
Great Lakes: University of Wisconsin
Mid-Atlantic: Pennsylvania State University
Midwest: Bradley University
Mountain: University of New Mexico
Northeast: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
South: Florida State University
South Central: University of Arkansas
Southeast: University of Louisville
West: Stanford University
The 2014 Cross Country National Championships will take place in Terre Haute, Ind. The race will take place at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.