The Men’s Cross Country team found themselves in a familiar place, finishing third behind Adams State and Western State Saturday, November 5, 2011, at the NCAA Regional Championships at Washington Park in Denver.
The result was the second straight week that the Orediggers finished behind the Grizzlies and Mountaineers, but it was enough to earn them a berth in the NCAA National Championships to be held November 19, 2011, in Spokane, Washington.
As a team, Mines finished with 72 points, just 11 behind second place Western State’s 61, and 44 behind first place finisher Adams State, which earned 28 points.
Junior Sean Gildea was the Orediggers top runner, placing eighth overall in 33:16, just 1:16 behind first place. The next three runners all finished within 41 seconds of Gildea as Derek Alcorn finished thirteenth (33:30), Neal Anderson fourteenth (33:34), and Andrew Epperson sixteenth (33:38). Curtis Taylor rounded out the scoring placing twenty-first (33:57). Mack McLain came in just eight seconds behind Taylor to finish twenty-third and Russell Drummond finished twenty-sixth (34:16).
Mines was among the top six scoring teams, which were awarded championship berths. This is the seventh straight year that the men’s team has advanced to the national championships. They have placed in the top ten in each of their previous six trips.
On the women’s side, the Lady Orediggers were looking for to advance to the National Championships after placing tenth at the Regional Championships last year. The top five women’s teams qualified, but Mines fell just short, placing seventh overall and capping a very successful season.
With 236 points, Mines was just 22 points shy of fifth place Minnesota Duluth. Chloe Gustafson recorded the Orediggers’ top finish, placing twenty-second overall in 24:22. Hannah Schuster came in 30 seconds later in forty-first place while Kirsten Farquhar finished fiftieeth (25:16), Marie Patton placed fifty-fifth (25:24), and Jessica Baker came in sixty-eighth (25:48).
Caitlin Kodweis finished one-hundred-third in 27:15 and Briana Suppes came in four seconds later in one-hundred-sixth.