UVU Men, Women Run Away with GWC Titles

Cliff Nielson

Oct. 27, 2012

Final Results - Women Get Acrobat Reader

Final Results - Men Get Acrobat Reader

CHICAGO- The Utah Valley University men's and women's cross country teams literally ran away with their fourth and fifth straight respective Great West Conference Cross Country titles Saturday at Montrose Park in their final year of competition in the league.

UVU's top five men's scoring runners and the top five women's scoring runners placed in the top 10 in scoring 19 and 20 points, respectively.

"We can't wait to get to the next one and see if we can do it again," said UVU cross country coach Scott Houle, whose teams will compete in the Western Athletic Conference next season. "That's going to be a nice new goal for us and unchartered waters, but we're going to set that as our goal."

UVU's Cliff Nielson won the 8K race with the time of 24:59 and he was followed consecutively by Macy Butterfield (2nd, 25:25); Mike Felix (4th, 25:44); Trevor Sharp (5th, 25:45) and Chris Dorton(7th, 25:56).

UVU's other two runners, Brenden Emery and Spencer Evensen, who didn't figure into the scoring, were ninth and 11th with the times of 25:59 and 26:13, respectively.

UVU's Krystal Harpertraversed the 5K course in 18:04, which was good for second on the women's side behind University of Texas-Pan America's Judith Chumba, who posted the winning time of 17:53.

Krystal Harper

"We always talk about our gap and I don't see it getting much better than it was today," Houle said. "Our girls ran really, really well together."

On the men's side NJIT was a distant second with 63 points followed by Houston Baptist (74), Texas-Pan American (79) and Chicago State (145).

On the women's side, Houston Baptist was second with 66 points, followed by UTPA (67); NJIT (109); Cal State Bakersfield (114) and Chicago State (185).

"The kids did a good job executing the race," Houle said. "They went out with a couple of plans and they ran how they wanted to."

Behind Harper, Darian Sharp was third (18:10) followed consecutively by Angela Baker-Blackham (18:20); Ally Deeter (18:36) and Ivie Gonsalves(18:39).

UVU's final two runners, Stephanie Christensen and Bridget Hazel, who didn't figure into the scoring, also placed in the top 10 at seventh (18:41) and ninth (18:51), respectively.

The UVU women won their first GWC title in 2008 and the men's own their first in 2009.

"It's going to be sad to leave the Great West Conference because it has been our home for a while. The coaches are great and we have built great relationships with them," Houle said. "We hate to leave, but it's a needed step for our program."

Nielson and Chumba were named the GWC Runners of the Year, while Darian Sharp and Emery were named the GWC Freshmen of the Year, and Houle was named the GWC Coach of the Year for both the men and women.