Honolulu, Hawai'i-The New Mexico State University cross country team claimed second place for the men's and women's teams at the Western Athletic Conference Championships in Honolulu, Hawai'I, on Saturday, Oct. 29, with junior Courtney Schultz winning first place overall for the women's race.
The women's team finished second as well with a team score of 53. NM State finished behind first-place Idaho, which finished with a score of 38. The best five times overall came from either NM State or Idaho.
The men's team finished second with a team score of 47. Utah State finished first with a score of 35. NM State finished the race with six athletes in the top 15, which was better than any other team finished.
Courtney finished first overall for the third-straight season with a time of 17:36.5 in the 5K. Second place did not cross the finish line until almost 20 seconds later. Sister Camille Schultz finished third overall with a time of 18:19.7. Last season Camille finished second overall as the two sisters crossed the finish line together. Freshman Tamara Lementino finished her standout season by placing 13th overall with a time of 19:11.8, finishing third overall among freshman. Junior Chelsa McDonnell finished close behind for 15th overall with a time of 19:15.8. Sophomore Rylie Hightower cracked into the top 20 by placing 20th and fifth for NM State with a time of 19:24.4.
"The women's team started off pretty far back, but they never stopped fighting," assistant coach Meaghan Harkins said. "I ended up being very pleased with the results."
On the men's side junior Jonah Ruybalid finished first for NM State and sixth overall with a time of 25:41.1 in the 8K. With another consecutive first-place finish for NM State, Ruybalid finished the season without placing any lower than first place for NM State in every race he competed in. Senior Kevin Taft finished second for NM State and eighth overall with a time of 26:06.8. Athletes from NM State filled up the 10th, 11th and 12th place as well. Junior Robert Selph finished 10th with a time of 28:06.8, sophomore Kevin Palmer finished 11th with a time of 26:10.2 and senior Victor Sanchez finished 12th overall with a time of 26:11.5.
"I am so pleased with how the men's team performed," Harkins said, "they left everything on the line today."
Courtney was honored as WAC Athlete of the Year for 2011 due to her performance in the WAC Championships and the regular season. Her performance also earned her a spot on the first team All-Conference alongside sister Camille. Lementino also received conference honors as a freshman by being named to the second team All-Conference.
The men's team finished with more All-Conference honors than any other team in the conference. Freshman Eric Fenton was named as WAC Freshman of the Year. Fenton finished 23rd overall in the WAC Championships with a time of 27:01.9, becoming the highest-placing freshman in the event. Ruybalid was named to the first team All-WAC as the lone athlete to represent the Aggies. Four of the seven athletes from the second team All-Conference list are from NM State. Taft, Selph, Palmer and Sanchez were all named to conference honors.