ASC Sports Information Director
DENVER, Colo. – Led by a second place overall finish from junior Alicia Nelson (Craig, Colo.), the Adams State women placed three runners in the top five at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Cross Country Championships at Willis Case Golf Course in Denver on Saturday morning, but the Mountaineer women placed all five of their scoring runners in the top 10 top ASC by a narrow 27-31 margin.
The Mountaineers’ 4-point margin of victory was the closest RMAC XC Championship finish since Adams State claimed a 29-30 win over Western in 1999.
Western State’s Lauren Kleppin won the Regis University hosted meet, running the 6k course in a time of 21 minutes, 12 seconds. Grizzlies took the next three spots, but the Mountaineers next four runners placed fifth thru eighth to round out the WSC scoring.
Saturday marked the third time this season that the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association’s (USTFCCCA) top-ranked Mountaineers and fifth-ranked Grizzlies have squared off with their top squads, and the third time that WSC has won the battle.
Metro State took third, well behind the runner-up Grizzlies with 77 points. The Roadrunners were followed by Colorado Mines (133 points) and Regis (152 points) to round out the top five.
Nelson mounted the biggest challenge to Kleppin’s victory, but was still 16 seconds back in a time of 21:28. The finish was the best RMAC finish of her career after missing the meet due to injury in 2010 and placing third in 2009.
Sophomore Kelly Lamb (Creede, Colo.), last year’s RMAC Freshman of the Year, placed third with a time of 21:47, and also earned her best finish in two races at the RMAC Championships. She was followed by junior Sarah Lange (Brattleboro, Vt.), who placed fourth in just her third meet for ASC.
But Adams State’s lead trio was followed by the final four scoring runners for the Mountaineers who were separated by just 12 seconds.
Freshman Melissa Roberts (Boulder, Colo.) brought RMAC Freshman of the Year honors home for the third straight year, placing 10th in a time of 23:12. Redshirt-freshman Jessie Brunett (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) rounded out the Grizzlies’ scoring five in 12th with a time of 23:23.
All seven Grizzly women in action on Saturday earned All-RMAC honors, as redshirt-freshman Lauren Martin (Alamosa, Colo.) and Tayler Warren (Evergreen, Colo.) were both third team members with 16th and 19th place finishes, respectively.
Adams State was the only team to have all seven runners earn All-RMAC honors by virtue of placing in the top 21. The top seven overall runners earn First Team All-RMAC honors, while the next seven earn second team and Nos. 15-21 earn third team.
Division II’s top-ranked Adams State men also placed second at Saturday’s RMAC Championships, as the Grizzlies were edged by an even closer, 28-31, score.
The Grizzlies will all be back in action in two weeks as they return to Denver for the NCAA Division II Central Regional Championships which will be hosted by Metro State.
There, the top five teams between the RMAC and Northern Sun (NSIC) will earn berths to the national championships which will be held in Spokane, Wash. on Nov. 19.