Wyoming Cross Country Teams Looking Forward to 1st Home Meet in 7 Years

With their first home meet since 2011 set to kick of the season at the Little America Golf course in Cheyenne on Aug. 31, the Wyoming Men's and Wome's cross country teams began fall training on Tuesday with a five-day stay at the Meduicine Bowl Lodge for the third year in a row.

Northern Colorado competition in the season opener.

“One of the nice things is cell phones don’t work up there, so they’re forced to interact with each other,” said seventh-year head coach Bryan Berryhill. “One of the benefits you get from going to camp is that bond you get over those five days, especially those freshmen coming in. They don’t know the upperclassmen very well, and it’s kind of hard to get to know them in a campus setting. I really feel like we get a lot accomplished, as far as becoming a closer team, over those five days.”

Amanda Clower, in her second season as associate head coach, will oversee the Cowgirls cross country squad. Last season, the UW women placed eighth at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships before finishing 15th at the NCAA Mountain Regional, one of the strongest regions in the nation.

The Cowgirls will look to seniors Kiah Leonard, Emily Person, Solana Quistorff and Regan VanDePol for leadership on this young team. Leonard and Person both scored points in three meets last season by finishing among UW’s top five. Person and VanDePol finished second and third, respectively, among Cowgirls at the prestigious Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville, Ky. Quistorff raced in one meet in 2017, but will look to help the other seniors replace the losses of Lauren Hamilton, Kerry White, Quinn DeStefano and Meredith Heneage, who all depart the team due to graduation. White and Hamilton combined to be UW’s top finisher in all five meets, and regularly finished first and second on the team throughout the season.

Juniors Calbi Ausmann, Ashley Bock, Kacey Doner, Ashley Urman and Madison Yager round out the Cowgirls’ upperclassmen with experience and strong finishes from 2017. Bock, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., is UW’s top returning finisher from both the MW Championships and the NCAA Mountain Regional, as she finished 46th and 87th overall at those races, respectively. Ausmann finished third for the Cowgirls at the CSU Duals, while Kacey Doner was the fourth Cowgirl to cross the line at the Pre-nationals race.

“We’re going to have to find some new leaders there,” Berryhill said. “We’ve kind of lost our leaders from the team last year, so we’ll see who wants to take up the leadership role. While there’s maybe not as much experience, we think pretty highly of this freshman class coming in, and we’re excited to see how they can step in and get into that top five for us.”

Colorado Springs native Allison Mann is the only sophomore on the roster, and she is joined by nine freshman -- Kaylee Bentley of Scottsbluff,  Jasmyne Cooper from Sioux Falls, Addi Iken of Littleton, and Kaylee Kearse from Peyton, Colo., Zia Macdermid from Palmerston North, New Zealand, Katelyn Mitchem from Broomfield, Colo., Piper Morris from Thornton, Colo., Michelle Renner from Lakewood, Colo., and Victoria Tenpenny from Page, Ariz.

In his second season at Wyoming, Scott Dahlberg will oversee the men’s cross country team that returns its top six runners from 2017 while bringing in proven talent. The Cowboys finished 2017 sixth at the MW Championships and ninth at the NCAA Mountain Regional. Michael Downey and Calum Kepler return as seniors to the squad. Downey finished 2017 on a high note, as he was the Cowboys’ second finisher in both the MW Championships and the NCAA Mountain Regional, finishing 36th and 46th, respectively. Kepler never finished lower than sixth on the team in any race last season, and he brings back strong depth for the Cowboys. Additionally, the Brown and Gold will enjoy the return of redshirt senior Jonah Henry and senior Ricky Faure, who both enter the 2018 season with a clean bill of health.

“We have high expectations of the men’s team,” Berryhill said. “We have a lot of experience coming back, we bring in some talented freshman and a Division II All-American and we bring back Jonah (Henry) and Ricky (Faure). So, we have a lot of depth and talent there. We have to put it all together. Our goal going into it is to try to get the team to the NCAA Championships for the first time in a long, long time. I think that’s what the guys expect, too.”

Returning juniors Harry Ewing, Christopher Henry and Daniel Hintz all recorded strong seasons in 2017, as all three earned points in every race during the year. Henry was the Cowboys’ top finisher in four of the five races, including a 38th overall finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional. Ewing crossed the line first for the Brown and Gold at the MW Championships, placing 26th overall. Hintz was among UW’s top four finishers in every meet, including finishing second for Wyoming at the Pre-Nationals meet. Additionally, Paul Roberts will join the Cowboys as a junior from CSU-Pueblo, where he was a Division II All-American last season.

Westcliffe, Colo., native Jerald Taylor is the lone sophomore on the Cowboys squad, but he has plenty of experience as he picked up points for UW in three meets last season, including a 78th-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional. The talented pool of incoming freshman include Philip Henry of Laramie, the third Henry brother on this year’s team, Blake Hubert of Frt Collins,  Will Persin from Lafayette, Ind., and Albert Steiner, of Laramie, and high school teammate of Henry.