Cowboys Cross-Country Team Returns to NCAAs for 1st Time Since 1986
From the desk of Sean O’Sullivan
LARAMIE – For the first time since 1986, the Cowboy cross country team will run at the NCAA National Championships together. After a strong regular season and a competitive showing at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships, the Cowboys earned an at-large bid to the National Championships, it was announced by the NCAA on Saturday. Just 31 teams out of 318 squads advance to the National Championships.
“This is a fantastic day for our cross country program,” said head coach Bryan Berryhill. “Words can’t explain how proud I am of our student-athletes and the work they have put in to achieve this. Coach (Scott) Dahlberg and Coach (Nick) Costello have done an amazing job getting this group of student-athletes prepared to be one of the best teams in the country. This is a wonderful moment for Cowboy cross country, and I can’t wait to watch them compete with the nation’s best in Madison.”
This is the latest feat in an historic season for the Cowboys. Wyoming became nationally-ranked in the coaches’ poll for the first time in program history, and was ranked as high as No. 13. Currently, the Cowboys check in at No. 18 in the nation. The initial ranking came after the Cowboys finished ahead of six nationally-ranked teams at the prestigious Pre-Nationals race, which was held on the same course the Cowboys return to this Saturday, Nov. 17, for the NCAA National Championships.
“We’re really excited for the opportunity to represent the University of Wyoming at the NCAA National Championship as a team,” said men’s cross country coach Scott Dahlberg. “This has been the goal we’ve had all season, and because of all the hard work these guys put in, their focus, belief, consistency and unity, they’ve made it a reality. We’re going to stop and take a moment to recognize this accomplishment, and then turn our focus to preparing for the race on Saturday.”
The Cowboys also placed fourth at the Mountain West Championships, the best finish for the team since 2015. At that race, junior Paul Roberts became just the second Cowboy in school history to win the individual conference title. For his efforts, he was named the Mountain West Cross Country Athlete of the Year, as well as first-team all-MW. Juniors Christopher Henry and Harry Ewing earned second-team all-MW honors by finishing ninth and 11th, respectively.
Then, two weeks later, the Cowboys placed sixth at the Mountain Regional Championship, tying the team’s best ever finish at that meet. Roberts placed 11th, Henry was 17th and Ewing was 21st, as the trio earned all-region honors. It was the first time in program history that Cowboys had three all-region honorees at the same meet.
But it hasn’t been just the teams’ top three scoring well for the Cowboys. Senior Michael Downey, junior Daniel Hintz, sophomore Jerald Taylor have all finished among the Cowboys’ top five during the season, showcasing this team’s impressive depth.
That depth will be the centerpiece in a week, as the top 31 teams in the nation will race for a national championship at the Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wis.
The Cowboys have sent seven different runners to the National Championships as individuals since that 1986 team competed together. Two-time All-American Mork Korir competed three times at the national meet for the Cowboys.