The Aggie cross country teams posted podium finishes at the 2010 WAC Championship meet as the men's team recorded a runner-up finish just nine points short of champion Boise State while the women's team posted a third place finish. The Aggies had five athletes earn All-WAC honors and Courtney Schultz repeated as WAC Women's Athlete of the Year. "That's a great honor. I was so proud of the kids. The two men who were All-WAC and the three women who were All-WAC, it just goes to show that we're a talented team and they deserve all the accolades that they get. They're out there 365 days of the year working their butts off," said cross country coach Meaghan Gregory.
Courtney Schultz repeated as as the women's individual champion at the WAC Cross Country meet while her sister Camille Schultz finished second as the two dominated the women's field for the second time in as many years helping the Aggies to a third place finish at the 2010 WAC Championship meet. "The Schultz girls proved themselves to be the class of the field. They went out right from the beginning and led wire-to-wire and didn't look back once. It was an impressive race for the Schultz girls," said cross country coach Paul Harkins.
The Aggie men's cross country team posted their best finish in program history as they finished in second place just nine points behind Boise State. "The men's was probably one of the more exciting I've seen as a cross country coach," said Coach Harkins. "They went out and established their position very well on the first loop of the four 2000 meter loops. We were rolling over the last 2,000 meters. Anthony Ellis came from quite a ways back to get up to 11th overall. Kevin Palmer ran extremely tough and then the pack, as it's been all year long, was very tight and very tough."
Aggie sophomore Kevin Palmer finished seventh with a time of 25:09.36 for the Aggie men and earned First Team All-WAC honors while junior Anthony Ellis earned second team honors with an 11th place finish and a time of 25:17.12. Sophomore Jonah Ruybalid finished just outside the Top 14 as he led a group of three Aggies across the line at 15th, 16th and 17th with times of 25:29.22 for Ruybalid, 25:33.26 for sophomore Robert Selph and 25:34.09 for junior Kevin Taft.
"It was a fantastic day for the men," said Coach Harkins The coaching staff couldn't be more proud of them. From where they've come four years ago to where they're at right now is unbelievable and we're extremely excited for them."
In additon to Courtney Schultz's WAC Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year honor, the Aggies placed three women on the First Team All-WAC team as Courtney Schultz, Camille Schultz and Chelsa McDonnell each earned the honors. "We had three girls on the First Team All-WAC which was great we need to work on our four and five a little bit but it was solid. The girls ran tough," said Coach Harkins "Samantha Hamilton had a great race, she hadn't been in our top five all year and she really stepped up for us coming in as our fifth girl and was closing really well."
Junior college transfer Madelyn Stoltze crossed the line with a time of 18:52.49 coming in fourth for the Aggies. Freshman Samantha Hamilton crossed with a time of 18:55.22 as she was the fifth Aggie to cross the finish line. "Sammie Hamilton had a fantastic race today," said Coach Gregory. "For her to step up and be our fifth runner today was fantastic.
For the Aggie men it was a bit of vindication after being picked to finish fifth by the league's coaches. For the fourth consecutive season the Aggies have improved on their previous season's results with the second place finish coming as the team's highest ever finish. "They were kind of upset about the poll but it didn't really bother them because they knew they were capable of fighting for a conference championship and that's what they had their goal set at the entire time," said Coach Harkins. "They did everything they could today to do that. It was an awesome performance that they had. I think they earned a lot of people's respect today and I think that was a big thing for them."
While the Aggie women's team wasn't able to repeat as conference champions cross country coach Meaghan Gregory knows that it's just a matter of meshing as a team for their young squad to reach their full potential. "The women's side doesn't quite have that synergy just yet," said Coach Gregory. "The one thing the men did over the past two weeks was really come together as a team and everything they did was in the context of that team atmosphere and building each other up." She added, "Our fifth girl today was a freshman, the three girls leading the way were sophomores, we've got one junior college transfer in the mix, this is new to all of the women. Experience is the name of the game in this sport."
The Aggies now have two weeks to prepare for the NCAA Mountain Regional which will be held in Salt Lake City, UT on November 13th.