​Women’s cross-country wins region title

 Source: Paul Pilkington
Weber State University’s Amber Henry runs during a race earlier this season. The Weber State University women’s cross-country team will head to the NCAA Championships after winning the Mountain Region tournament earlier this month.

The women’s cross-country team continued its successful season with a first-place victory and title claim at the NCAA Mountain Region event.

The team victory marked the first-ever Mountain Region title for Weber State University, and the women’s team qualified for the NCAA Championships with the win.

“We ran a great race, and I’m really pleased with our whole team’s performance,” said WSU Head Coach Paul Pilkington in an interview with the WSU Athletic Department. “This was the first meet all season that all seven of our runners had great races. Across the board, they all ran great, and it’s a great accomplishment to win the region title. Now we will gear up for the NCAA meet.”

Pilkington was recently named the 2012 Big Sky Coach of the Year due to the success of both the WSU men’s and women’s cross-country teams this season.

The women’s team victory was led by two-time Big Sky champion and WSU junior Amber Henry, who finished in third place overall during the event. Henry finished with a time of 20 minutes and 18.4 seconds on the 6-kilometer course, missing second place only by one second.

“I felt pretty good in the race,” Henry said. “I didn’t spend a huge amount of energy . . . so that’s good for this week’s upcoming race.”

WSU senior Sarah Callister was the second Wildcat to cross the finish line, taking eighth overall with a time of 20:45.1. Callister was followed by Taylor Thornley in 13th place with a time of 21:1.0, Jamie Stokes in 17th place with a time of 21:07.4, and Laken Hintze in 22nd place with a time of 21:11.8.

The men’s cross-country team earned a fifth-place finish at the Mountain Regional and was led by WSU senior John Coyle, who posted a time of 30:33.0 on the 10-kilometer course to finish 17th overall.

Jason Nance was the second runner to cross the finish for WSU at 30:58.6. WSU sophomore Trevor Ricks finished 30th overall with a time of 31:00.8.

“Our men’s team ran a great race and really performed well,” Pilkington told WSU Athletics. “For our team to finish fifth in this meet is a great accomplishment.”

The WSU women’s cross-country team will now prepare to head to Louisville, Ky., this Saturday, Nov. 17 to compete in the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year.

Along with her goals for her team, Henry said she has personal goals that she wishes to complete at the NCAA Championships.

“I’ve had my goal to be in the top 15, and I think it’s definitely a realistic goal,” she said. “I would be tickled to end up in the top 10. . . . There are some great runners, so I don’t know . . . but if I can, I am going to push it and give everything I can. It’s the last race, so I am just going to leave everything I have out on the course.”

Individual goals aside, Henry said she believes the women’s cross-country team has great possibilities for the championships.

“If everyone performs well like we can,” she said, “we should be a top-10 team, so we’re just getting really excited for that. . . . If we can perform like we do, there is only about a 53-second gap between our first runner and our fifth runner. So, if we can do that again, we should do pretty well. We should have a pretty dang good score, which, according to other years, would put us in the top 10. We’re capable of doing it, and we perform really well at big meets, and I think that we can do it.”