Second-Place Finishes at MWC Championships
OREM -- On a bright, chilly morning at the Cascade Golf Center, the BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams earned second-place finishes at the Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships.
New Mexico took first place in both races as the No. 19 Lobo men’s team edged the No. 7 Cougars by five points, 29 to 34, respectively, while the No. 21 BYU women’s team fell to No. 20 New Mexico as the Lobos won by a score of 24 to 45.
“It’s never fun to lose, but New Mexico came out and ran hard and deserved the victory,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “The first mile we were doing very well but lost it midway through the race and couldn’t execute our plan to run together. We congratulate New Mexico for a good performance.”
BYU junior Cecily Lemmon-Lew earned the conference Women’s Athlete of the Year award as she finished in first place overall with a 6K time of 20:47.4, a mark that ranks second all-time in MWC Championship history and 23 seconds ahead of second-place New Mexico runner Ruth Senior. BYU true freshman Nicole Nielsen earned the Women’s Freshman of the Year conference award as she finished as the fourth Cougar runner and in 11th place overall in 21:42.
Sophomore Katy Andrews arrived as the second Cougar and came in sixth place overall followed by senior Angela Wagner in tenth place. Rachel Lange and Ashlee Thomas came in 17th and 18th place, respectively, while Lacey Cramer, Sarah Edwards and Sarah Yingling turned in solid performances.
“I thought it was a great race but the course was a little tougher than we thought it would be,” Lemmon-Lew said. “New Mexico did a good job of taking control as a team, but it’s an honor for me to receive the Athlete of the Year award. We ran well, but New Mexico really brought it and deserved to win.”
Lemmon-Lew’s award marks the tenth time in the 11-year conference history that a Cougar has come in first place at the MWC Championships.
Lemmon-Lew and Andrews earned spots on the All-MWC First Team with their finishes while Wagner and Nielsen made the All-MWC Second Team.
Colorado State finished in third place with 64 points, while Air Force (124), Wyoming (165), Utah (195), TCU (196), San Diego State (207) and UNLV (210) rounded out the field.
For the men’s 8K race, New Mexico won its first-ever MWC title as BYU was aiming for its tenth conference crown. Air Force is the only other school to win a league title as they accomplished the feat in 2003.
BYU sophomore Miles Batty finished one second behind New Mexico senior Jacob Kirwa, who took first place overall in 23:34.5, a new MWC Championship record. Kirwa also garnered MWC Male Athlete of the Year accolades.
“The race went as I thought it would go with me and Kirwa battling for the top spot,” Batty said. “It came down to the last 400 meters and we were both side-by-side figuring out who would make the next move. I took it but he managed to pull ahead at the end. You have to give New Mexico credit for taking it to us.”
BYU senior Richard Nelson came in fifth place overall in 24:01 followed by Nate Ogden (7th), Alden Bahr (9th), Brandon Hebbert (11th) and Ryan Merriman (12th). Tommy Gruenewald, Travis Fuller and Jonathan Nelson also competed well for the Cougars.
Batty, Nelson and Ogden earned spots on the All-MWC First Team with their finishes while Bahr, Hebbert and Merriman made Second Team All-MWC.
Air Force came in third place with 72 points while Colorado State (118), Wyoming (132) and TCU (186) followed.
New Mexico’s Joe Franklin was named the 2009 MWC Men’s and Women’s Coach of the Year.