LAS CRUCES, N.M.-- The New Mexico State men’s and women’s cross country teams are set to host the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Cross Country Championships, Saturday, Nov. 1, at the NMSU Golf Course.
Assistant coaches Paul Harkins and Meaghan Gregory said they are thrilled that the championships are finally here.
“The WAC Championships are what we have been preparing for all year,” Gregory said. “We are extremely excited, especially when we have so much potential on the women’s side to finish within the top three and for the men’s team to improve on last season’s sixth-place finish.”
The women’s team consists of eight runners and is led by junior Ingrid Flores and sophomores Brandi Gutierrez and Amy Arenas. Junior Brittany Hurtado and senior Christina Herrera round out the Aggies’ top five consistent scorers of the season, while the remaining three are sophomore Rayanna Fernandez and freshmen April Lewis and Jessica Payne.
Gutierrez led the Aggies across the finish line in a pair of races this the season, which includes the first-place team finish at the Arizona State Invitational, in
Arenas has made the most drastic transformation from last season, posting almost a minute and a half improvement at every race. She clocked her quickest 5k time of the season of 17:44 at the Bronco Invitational and placed fifth overall.
“The women have been very consistent throughout the season and we are proud of that,” Harkins said. “I am also really excited with the potential the men’s team has shown during the course of the season. I believe that this young squad, if they run to their capability, could place within the top four at the championships.”
Seniors Josh Sifuentes and James Nduati, sophomores Mike Hart and Patrick Hernandez, freshmen Kevin Taft, Marcus Porter, Ian Ruybalid, Victor Sanchez and Anthony Ellis are representing NMSU on the men’s side.
Ruybalid has been the Aggies most consistent threat throughout the season, leading NMSU across three of the five finish lines. He clocked his fastest 8k time of 26:04 at the Bronco Invitational.
Hart and Ellis are the remaining pair that has also led the Aggies in a race. Hart was first to cross at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational, Sept. 12, while Ellis paced NMSU at the Bronco Invitational with a time of 25:52. Hart clocked his fastest time of the season also at the Bronco Invitational with at time of 26:25.
Results and recaps can be found at www.NMStateSports.com following the conclusion of the meet. The women’s race kicks off at 10:00 a.m., while the men’s race starts at 10:30 a.m.