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WSU cross-country finishes third at Big Sky

Weber State Athletics/Corbin Talley
Women’s Cross Country finished third at Big Sky Conference Championship.

Weber State University’s men’s and women’s cross-country both finished third at the Big Sky Conference Championships on a snowy day in Missoula, Montana, on Oct. 27. The Wildcats ran against Eastern Washington University, University of Idaho, Idaho State University, The University of Montana, Montana State University, Northern Arizona University, Northern Colorado University, Portland State University and Sacramento State University.

Men’s cross-country

Men’s cross-country finished with a score of 79 points in the 8K. Northern Arizona is nationally ranked at No. 1 for both men’s and women’s cross-country and finished with a score of 20 points, and Montana State finished second with 45 points.

Peter Visser led the Weber State team and finished seventh with a time of 23:51.40. Kevin Kirk followed with a time of 24:39.60, placing him in 15th. Bronson Winter was right behind Kirk and finished 16th at 24:43.90. Taylor Knight followed in 17th with a time of 24:44.40. Wesley Kallgren finished 29th at 25:14.00 to be the first five Wildcats to complete the race.

“Big Sky was cold,” Visser said. “But we managed the situation very well and were able to walk away with an all-conference finish and a strong team finish. The course was challenging, but we ran it well. I’m proud of my effort and the effort of my teammates.”

Visser grew up in Western Wyoming, which has helped him become accustomed to cold temperatures and diverse racing conditions. After the race, he was named 2023 Big Sky Cross-Country All-Conference.

“Preparation began well over a year ago,” Visser said. “We’re a young team with lots of hungry dudes, but not a lot of experience. The past year, we have focused on growing as a unit, building strength and gaining race experience. I plan on doing nothing differently for the upcoming competitions. What’s worked has worked. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Running is a waiting game. You hurry up and wait. Results don’t happen overnight, and often it’s months or even years before your hard work takes effect.”

Women’s cross-country

Women’s cross-country finished with a score of 107 points in the 5K. Northern Arizona finished with 15 points, and Montana State finished second with 57 points. Laurie Murphy was the first Wildcat to cross the finish line with a time of 17:35.20, placing 13th.

“The Big Sky Championships was definitely one to remember,” Laurie Murphy said. “Twenty degrees and a hilly course made for some crazy race experiences, but our team showed amazing grit and pushed through for an awesome third-place finish. Throughout the season and leading up to the Big Sky, we all focused on our mindset and consistency. Working hard all year and staying positive helped us feel prepared for the race.”

Hailey Low followed shortly after Murphy with a time of 18:02.10, finishing in 17th. Saga Hagelin finished 21st at 18:09.40. Bailey Winter finished 29th with a time of 18:26.50. Frances Hudson finished 34th at 18:41.70.

“Our team is especially good at moving late in the race,” Murphy said. “With a big hill at about the 2-mile mark, our team was able to use it to our advantage and make a move right after the hill. Together, everyone moved up, and we finished strong.”

At the end of the race, Hailey Low was named Big Sky Freshman of the Year.

The men and women Wildcats will head to Lubbock, Texas, for the NCAA Mountain Regionals on Nov. 10.

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Jacoba Jones
Jacoba Jones, Sports reporter

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