LAS CRUCES, N.M.-The cross country team of New Mexico State University will conclude its season on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the WAC Championships in Ruston, La.
Both the men's and the women's teams were selected to finish second in the pre-WAC Championship coach's poll. Both teams finished second in their respective events in the WAC Championships last season.
The men finished first as a team at the Grand Canyon Invitational, defeating some of the strongest schools in the southwest region at a reasonably high altitude. The men's team also finished second as a team at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational and the Kachina Classic. The women finished first at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational and the Kachina Classic. The women also finished second at the Grand Canyon Invitational.
"The men's squad is really strong as a team," said assistant cross country coach Christopher Huff. "They are comfortable running with each other and supporting each other."
A strong senior class will lead both teams at the WAC Championships. The men's team will be led by Jonah and Ian Ruybalid, Terry Williams, Kevin Hemphill, Anthony Ellis, Ryan Fenton and Robert Selph. Courtney and Camille Schultz will lead the women's team, followed by a slew of talented underclassmen.
Jonah has run every event for NM State since the beginning of the season, finishing first for NM State in all events. Ruybalid was named WAC Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 1-7 for his efforts at the Grand Canyon Invitational where he finished first for NM State and third overall with a time of 24:59.9 in the 8K.
"For the men it comes down to running at a level they are capable of," Huff said. "Instead of trying to aim for a certain time, I want them to aim for passing the next person in front of them."
Courtney will compete in her final WAC Championships where she looks to grab a fourth-consecutive individual title. Schultz has been named WAC Athlete of the Week on three different occasions this season. She received the honor on the final week of the season at the Bronco Invitational when she finished first overall with a time of 17:00.5 in the 5K. Schultz was also named WAC Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 24-30 when she finished second overall at the Rim Rock Collegiate Invitational with a time of 20:30.9, which currently sits at second all-time for that particular course design. Her first time winning the award this season came during the first week of the season when Schultz finished first overall at the Lobo Invitational with a time of 18:11.9.
"Individually, Courtney is presented with the opportunity to be a 4-time WAC Champion," Huff said. "As a team, having Courtney and Camille up front will help the rest of our girls."
The WAC Championships begin Saturday, Oct. 27, in Ruston, La.