The Weber State University men’s and women’s cross-country teams temporarily parted ways to compete in separate events last weekend.
The WSU women’s team traveled to Madison, Wis., to compete in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational last Friday, where it finished in 10th place overall.
The meet for the women’s team displayed some of the best talent from different universities across the country, including 19 of the nation’s top 30 teams. The WSU women’s cross-country team entered the event ranked 13th in the nation — the highest ranking ever for the Wildcats.
Amber Henry, a WSU junior, finished the event with the third-best overall time. Henry ran the 6-kilometer course with a time of 19:43, beating out many of the nation’s top-ranked runners. Henry, the 2011 Big Sky Conference cross-country champion, has finished two events in first place and two events in third place this season.
WSU senior Sarah Callister was the second Wildcat to cross the line, finishing 19th overall with a time of 20:05. WSU junior Laken Hintze was the third Wildcat to finish, with a time of 20:57.
Head Coach Paul Pilkington acknowledged the solid performance from Henry and the women in general.
“This was a good performance for us against a great field of teams,” he said in an interview with the WSU Athletic Department. “We were able to defeat some teams we needed to and get some team points. Amber had another fantastic race and really closed the race well. She showed that she is one of the best cross-country runners in the nation.”
The WSU men’s cross-country team participated in the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet held in Louisville, Ky., last Saturday.
The men’s team finished in 22nd place overall after running an 8-kilometer course, led by WSU senior John Coyle. Coyle finished with a time of 23:58.9 and crossed the finish line in 42nd place overall.
Other finishes for the Wildcat men included junior Mike Hardy finishing 60th overall with a time of 24:06.6 and sophomore Trevor Ricks crossing the line at 92nd overall with a time of 24:25.1.
“It was kind of rough,” said Ricks, concerning the race for the men’s team. “It was the biggest field of runners we’ve seen, and the race was very crowded. John Coyle, our top runner, fell early in the race, and none of us finished exactly where we wanted to, but overall, it was an experience we can learn from.”
With the biggest races coming up for the Wildcats, Ricks said there are still things to tighten up.
“We can do better at getting into position earlier in the race and working together to move up,” he said. “I think we can step back now and realize that we need to step up our performance all around, especially now that conference and regionals are coming up . . . We’ve put in the work leading up to these events, so now we can prepare ourselves mentally and try to stay healthy.”
The next race for the men’s and women’s teams will be held on Oct. 27 in Flagstaff, Ariz., where both will compete in the Big Sky Championships. Following the conference championships will be the NCAA Mountain Regionals on Nov. 7 and the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17.