September 21, 2013

Women's cross country finishes sixth, men seventh at Montana State Open

By PARKER COTTON

UNCBears.com

BOZEMAN, Mont., -- Northern Colorado Cross Country made the trek to the Montana State Open this weekend, where the men finished seventh of seven men's teams in competition and the women finished sixth of eight women's teams.

Sophomore Rikki Gonzales paced the Bears by finishing third overall on the women's side, just 10 seconds behind the first-place runner. Gonzales finished the three-mile run in 17 minutes, 26 seconds.

Junior Ashley Atkin finished second for the Bears and 24th overall, finishing in 18:22. Caroline Braun (32nd overall, 18:33), Stephanie Clark (39th, 18:42), McKayla Gray (51st, 19:03) and Molly Morrison (54th, 19:13) rounded out the finishers for the women's team in the 105-member field. The Bears had an average finish of 18:25.20.

Of the Big Sky schools that competed for the women, Montana State finished second overall, Montana finished fourth, Eastern Washington was seventh and Idaho State was eighth.

"It was a good race," said assistant coach John Gutierrez. "We finished in the middle of the conference schools that competed here and we improved our team time from last year. I feel we are in a great spot. We are still in a heavier strength phase of our training. My focus remains on the results of conference. This was a great preview of the course and competition."

On the men's side, senior John McCarthy was the Bears' top finisher, running the five-mile course in 28:19 for 50th overall in the 63-runner competition. Tim Corrie ran it in 28:49 for 54th overall, and Henry Merth placed 57th overall with a time of 29:07. Kingston Wagner finished 61st overall with a 30:21 time and Kyle Kusmik ran the course in 33:43 for 63rd place.

"It's a good finish today," head coach Amanda Schick said. "I know Coach G is a competitor and he's going to continue to move this program forward. It's important for our team to see our conference schools prior to Big Sky. This meet allows that."

The Bears face their next competition next Saturday at the Rocky Mountain Shootout in Boulder.