Runners prepare themselves at the starting line for the Big Sky Conference men's cross country championship on Saturday in North Dakota. The Wildcats men's team finished in third place.  (Photo courtesy of Big Sky Conference)
Runners prepare themselves at the starting line for the Big Sky Conference men’s cross country championship on Saturday in North Dakota. The Wildcats men’s team finished in third place.
(Photo courtesy of Big Sky Conference)

The Weber State cross country teams traveled to North Dakota to run in the Big Sky Conference championships on Saturday. The men’s team was looking to disrupt the competition while the women’s team was looking for their fourth straight title.

In a close race, the men’s team came away with a third-place finish. They were only one point away from taking second place over in-state rival Southern Utah, with Northern Arizona taking home their eighth straight conference title. The first place finisher, Futsum Zienasellassie of NAU, covered the 8,000-meter course in 24:07.

Even though Mike Hardy had been battling the stomach flu earlier in the week, he was able to take fifth place and ran the 8,000-meter course in 24:16. Hardy’s teammate Trevor Ricks finished in ninth, just two seconds behind Hardy. Both received All-Conference honors. Thomas (Tip) Worob was the team’s third-fastest runner, as he finished in 12th place, followed by Tyler Robinson and Preston Johnson, who finished 20th and 21st respectively.

“We had a good meet and battled well,” WSU head coach Paul Pilkington said. “Mike Hardy had a great race as well, especially since he picked up the stomach flu this week. I think Preston Johnson and Tyler Robinson both ran a great race.”

Hopes of a fourth straight conference title for the women’s team were dashed as they finished in second place behind the NAU women’s team. Montana State finished third followed closely by Eastern Washington. Sarah Reiter of EWU took first place individually running the 5,000-meter course in a time of 17:05.

WSU was led again by Jamie Stokes, Ellie Child and Hailey Ricks, all of whom earned All-Conference honors. Stokes finished sixth and was followed by Child who took seventh. Ricks finished in 10th and achieved her second consecutive All-Conference honor. Paige Dilmore finished in 28th and Sara Mathewson finished close behind coming in 29th place.

“NAU ran a really good race but I was proud of our girls,” Pilkington said in a statement. “We hadn’t seen them all year so we didn’t know how good they were. The freshmen ran well and we don’t lose anyone from this year. So the future is bright.”

The team will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico on Nov. 15 to compete in the NCAA Mountain Region cross country championships.

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