LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The UMKC men’s and women’s cross country teams battled at the 2017 Western Athletic Conference Championships, hosted by New Mexico State, in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Saturday morning.
The men’s team won the title in dramatic fashion to repeat as conference champions for the second year in a row, while the women posted a third-place finish overall. Head coach Shameika McField also collected her second-straight WAC Cross Country Coach of the Year honor.
“Wow. That was absolutely amazing,” McField exclaimed. “Each year I say that this is the best team I have ever coached and this year is no different. I am proud of the showing our team had on both the men’s and women’s side. Besides the win, I am excited about our consistency. All student-athletes want to win, but more importantly, they want to win often. As a coach, I want to provide our team with a great student-athlete experience and moments like this help me accomplish that goal.
“I was especially proud of Bryce and Mia, who won their individual titles, and all of our seniors. Sarah and Chandler laid the foundation to have a great performance, while Jason, Nathan, Marcus and Quinlan sealed the deal for the men in a close tiebreaker to come out with a victory. This performance will set the tone for our season and we thank them for getting us off to a great postseason start.”
The men’s race had two ties in it, including a tie for the team title between UMKC and Utah Valley. The NCAA tiebreaker rule was used, which is: comparing in order the place finish of each of the five scoring members of the tied teams. The teams with the majority of winning comparisons shall be awarded the higher place. In the end, UMKC’s first-, fourth- and fifth-place finishers helped the Roos win the tiebreaker, 3-2, and repeat as team champions for the second-consecutive year.
Senior Bryce Miller (Ashland, Wis.) paced the Roos in the men’s 8-kilometer race, finishing first overall with a personal best time of 23:47 to take the individual title for the second year in a row. Teammates Marcus Johnson (Nixa, Mo.) and Quinlan Moll (Springfield, Mo.) joined Miller in the top-10, notching personal bests of their own with times of 24:20 and 24:31, respectively.
“Capping off my conference cross country career with a repeat team title made today’s race one I will remember forever,” Miller shared. “Everyone played a crucial role in today’s victory and it was satisfying for all our hard to work culminate for this moment.”
“It was great to come out and take home another championship,” said Moll. “These guys have worked extremely hard all year to make this happen and it took every piece of the puzzle to get it done.”
Three Roos – Jason Fambrough (Raymore, Mo.), Nathan Keown (Columbia, Mo.) and Daylan Quinn (Mountain View, Mo.) – also clocked in personal best times at the championships, finishing in the top 20 for UMKC. Additionally, Darrien Case (Parkville, Mo.), Lachlan Moore (Nixa, Mo.) and Josh Sanders (Maryville, Mo.) pushed through to round out competition for the Roos.
“The WAC Championship win was awesome since a lot of people had us coming in as underdogs,” commented Fambrough. “Our depth and strength were what got us the win and we had a lot of personal records as well. It truly is a great day to be a Roo.
“It was a great experience and it was amazing to be out there with my team as they went out there and did something very special,” said Sanders. “Every single one of the top guys really embraced me into the team and were great models for me to follow, and hopefully, I will be able to follow in their footsteps in the next 2-3 years and make this team as welcoming as it has been for me.”
“Bryce had a great day and ran his race plan to perfection,” assistant coach Brett Guemmer shared. “Marcus stepped up huge for us today and Quinlan, Jason and Nathan closed the door for us.”
On the women’s side, Mia Jerman (Ste. Genevieve, Mo.) won her fist individual WAC title, while top-10 finishes by Sarah Fogarty (O’Fallon, Mo.) and Chandler Carreon (Lake St. Louis, Mo.) helped the Roos finish third overall – two spots higher than their 2016 finish. Jerman’s first-place performance of 16:56 in the 5-kilometer race marked a two-minute personal best for the junior.
“Today’s race was a testament of the work this team has put in,” shared Jerman. “Althought the ladies didn’t win as a team, we all had personal best performances. I am very proud of the whole squad and how well we have worked together this entire season.”
“Cross country is a sport unlike any other,” commented Carreon. “Conference is always a battle and I am honored to train with our talented team and to have very supportive coaches. Today we all gave our best and it was special to see our men’s team win again and to have two individual champions!”
“The best part about today was that everyone had huge PRs,” shared Fogarty. “There are a lot of older girls on this team, so we really had to make our last statement at the WAC Championships and it was so awesome to see our young girls flourish at this meet. Mia had a great win and Katherine raced extremely well.”
“Today was such an emotional day for everyone,” Mills said. “Seeing the guys win another conference championship, and having all of the girls together for most of our last conference races, was really exciting. I am so proud of all the work that has been put in this season for everyone and I am excited to see what we do at regionals in two weeks.”
“On the ladies side, the women competed well but came up short against tough New Mexico State and Utah Valley teams,” continued Guemmer. “Mia had a plan and crushed it. I am extremely proud of her and the rest of our ladies. Sarah and Mia were back a decent way halfway through the race and battled back to finish first-team All-WAC.”
Fans can visit the WAC’s championship central page to watch the finish line stream, find final meet results and view photos from the event. UMKC will head north in two weeks for the NCAA Midwest Regional in Ames, Iowa, on Nov. 10.
– UMKC –