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WSU cross-country teams continue to succeed

The Weber State University cross-country team continues to run with success after a tournament held in Minnesota last weekend, where both the men’s and women’s teams were able to place runners within the top six finishers.

The Wildcats traveled up to Minneapolis, Minn., to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational last Saturday.

The Wildcat women’s cross-country team was able to come away from the event with a second-place win and an overall finish of 82 points. The ‘Cats finished behind only Iowa State University, the fifth-ranked team in the country,

The second-place victory on the women’s side was due partly to the continued success of WSU junior Amber Henry. Henry, the defending Big Sky cross-country champion, finished the race with a third-place time of 21:09.5 on the 6-kilometer course.

Wildcat senior Sarah Callister ended the race with a sixth-place victory. Callister finished the race with an overall time of 21:21.9 and helped propel the women’s team to its second-place victory.

The women’s team entered the race with the 16th overall ranking in the NCAA Division 1 Cross-Country ranks.

“It’s been a 3-4-year process to get the women’s team developed to where they’re at right now,” said WSU Head Coach Paul Pilkington. “So it’s just a matter of recruiting well and them staying healthy. They’re racing well right now; we have a good group . . . They’re ranked 15th right now, and they finished second at the Griak (Invitational) in Minnesota. That’s the highest any Weber (women’s) team has been there.”

The WSU men’s cross-country team took fourth place in the event behind other national opponents. The fourth-place win was due in part to the performance of WSU senior John Coyle, who took second place on the 8-kilometer course. Coyle, who has finished in second place, first place and second place in three meets this season, finished the event with a time of 24:36.8.

WSU sophomore Trevor Ricks was the second Wildcat to cross the finish line on Saturday for the men. Ricks finished the event with a time of 25:12.1.

Pilkington recognized the solid win for both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams.

“The men finished fourth and that’s also the highest any Weber (men’s) team ever finished at that event as well,” Pilkington said. “John Coyle is running well on the men’s side, and all of my top-five women are racing well as well.”

Pilkington explained that many factors have helped prepare WSU for the success it is currently seeing.

“It’s a whole program, with everything from the amount of mileage we do and how fast and hard it is,” he said. “There is no single thing to it. And they’ll get better just as we race a little more. It’s still early season and they’re not quite race-sharp yet . . . With a few more races, they’ll start sharpening even more.”

Ricks, who finished 17th at the event and was the second Wildcat to finish, said the team is doing the best it can to push itself and run hard.

“We’re kind of an old team,” Ricks said. “The runners that we have up front have been in the program for quite a while, so we have a little more experience in racing and training. Also, we don’t have as much depth as we’d like, so that puts a little more pressure on the runners that need to score points. So I think, as a team, we’ve been trying to go that extra mile — pun intended.”

The WSU cross-country teams will travel to Louisville, Kent., on Saturday, Oct. 13 to compete in the NCAA Pre-National Tournament.

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