The Weber State women's cross country team repeated as Big Sky Champions Saturday at the 2012 conference meet in Flagstaff. The WSU men's team finished second overall for the second-straight season.
The Wildcat women's team totaled 29 points to defeat Southern Utah 29-36. The host school Northern Arizona came in third at 112, followed by Idaho State, Northern Colorado and Montana State.
The victory is the sixth Big Sky title ever for the Weber State women's team and the first time the Wildcats have ever captured back-to-back titles.
Weber State captured the top three spots in the meet. Junior Amber Henry continued her incredible season by capturing the individual conference title for the second-straight year. She is the first Wildcat and just the fifth athlete in conference history to win consecutive individual titles.
Henry, who has led Weber State in all five meets this season, posted a time of 16:59.7 on the 5K course at the Buffalo Park in Flagstaff. Henry narrowly defeated teammate Sarah Callister who finished second overall at 17:02.1. Senior Taylor Thornley was third overall at 17:06.9.
Senior Laken Hintze finished ninth with a time of 17:39.2. Those four Wildcats all earned All-Conference honors by finishing in the top 10 at the meet.
WSU's fifth runner was junior Kayla Blackford who took 14th place with a time of 17:55.0. Suzanna Cressall was 17th, Jenna Deelstra finished 18th and Jamie Stokes was 22nd.
"It obviously feels great to repeat as conference champions," said WSU head coach Paul Pilkington. "Our top three runners all ran tremendous races. It was a great race between Amber and Sarah for the title. I'm proud of our effort and what we were able to accomplish."
The Wildcats entered the meet ranked 16th in the nation in the latest polls and were first in the Mountain region poll.
On the men's side Northern Arizona captured first place for the sixth straight season. The Lumberjacks totaled 24 points on their home course. The Wildcats were in a tough battle for second place with Southern Utah and WSU narrowly defeated the Thunderbirds by a score of 54-57. Montana State claimed fourth place with Sacramento State fifth and Montana sixth.
Senior John Coyle led the way for the Wildcats as he has all season long. He posted a time of 24:59.0 on the 8K course to claim fifth place overall. Junior Mike Hardy was eighth at 25:23.6 and Jason Nance claimed ninth place at 25:32.7. All three earned All-Big Sky honors.
WSU's fourth runner was Thomas Worob who ran the best race of his season to claim 15th place with a time of 25:58.8. Trevor Ricks was 17th and Tyler Robinson claimed 24th place. Junior Brian Shrader of Northern Arizona won the meet with a time of 24:55.9.
"It was a really great effort by our team to be able to finish second," Pilkington said. "I was really pleased with their effort and how they ran as a group. It was a full team effort."
Both Wildcat teams will now prepare for the NCAA Mountain Region meet which will be Nov. 9 in Fort Collins, Colorado. Those teams and athletes who qualify will then compete at the NCAA Championships Nov. 17 in Louisville, Kentucky.