ASC Sports Information Director
DENVER, Colo. – The Adams State men’s cross country squad faltered in its attempt to claim a seventh straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) XC Championship at Willis Case Golf Course, where the Western State men claimed a 28-31 win despite all seven Grizzlies earning All-RMAC honors on Saturday.
Western State’s Tyler Pennell, the RMAC Preseason Runner of the Year, won the meet, making it just the second time in the last eight years that a Grizzly has not won the individual title.
The Mountaineers placed three runners in the top five and their five scoring runners all in the top 10 take the team title with 28 points. ASC’s final scoring runner finished 11th to round out the Grizzliies’ team score of 31 points.
Nationally 4th-ranked Colorado Mines was well back of the Grizzlies while finishing third with 89 points, and was followed by New Mexico Highlands (138 points) and Metro State (141 points) to round out the top five.
Pennell’s winning time of 24:59 brought him across the line 11 seconds ahead of senior Nathan Sellers (La Crescenta, Calif.), who led the ASC charge by finishing second overall in 25:10. Senior Matt Bond (Worcester, England) gave the Grizzlies two finishers ahead of Western State’s second, as he crossed in 25:19 for third place.
On the heels of Bond were the Mountaineers next two, as Ryan Haebe and Gabe Proctor finished five seconds apart in fourth and fifth.
Redshirt-freshman Tabor Stevens (Canon City, Colo.) finished sixth, good to grab RMAC Freshman of the Year status. Stevens was followed by the Orediggers’ Sean Gildea, the only runner to finish in the top 10 not wearing a Western State or Adams State uniform.
The Mountaineers and Grizzlies then traded the next four finishing positions, but it was Western State that held the advantage by taking eighth and 10th while freshman Matt Daniels (Arlington, Texas) and junior David Sanchez (Farmersville, Calif.) concluded ASC’s top five in ninth and 11th.
Juniors Keegan Calmes (Wind Lake, Wis.) and Andrew Roberts (Boulder, Colo.) came across as the ASC’s sixth and seventh men, and weren’t far behind Sanchez as they placed 12th and 14th, putting all seven for the Grizzlies on the All-RMAC First and Second Teams.
The Grizzlies were the only team to have all seven runners earn All-RMAC honors.
In addition to being the Grizzlies first loss at the RMAC Championships in seven years, it was also the first race that the Grizzlies have been beaten by a Division II team since the 2007 NCAA Championships, a span of 22 races until today.
The Grizzlies primary goal of a fourth consecutive national title still stands on the horizon, and the next step awaits as ASC returns to Denver on Nov. 5 for the NCAA Division II Central Regional Championship. There, the top six teams from the RMAC and Northern Sun (NSIC) will earn the right to compete at the national championship which will be held in Spokane, Wash. on Nov. 19.