GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Utah Valley University women's cross country team won its fourth straight Great West Conference Championship, and the men's cross country team captured its third straight crown Saturday at the Ray Richards Golf Course.
The UVU women's team won with 37 points, followed by North Dakota (67), Seattle (73), Texas-Pan American (82), Houston Baptist (111), NJIT (154) and Chicago State (220).
The UVU men's team finished with 43 points, followed by Texas-Pan American (74), Houston Baptist (88) NJIT (92), North Dakota (103), Seattle (113) and Chicago State (197).
"I think we're showing that we're continuing to build a consistent program," said UVU cross country coach Scott Houle, who was named the men's and women's coach of the year. "That's what we are most proud of."
UVU's five scoring women runners placed in the Top 12. Shelise Walker finished second overall with a time of 17 minutes, 57.22 seconds in the 5K race, while Ivie Gonsalves was fourth (18:09.98) and Kalina Zufelt-Clegg was eight (18:37.94). Jessica Wilding (18:52.02) and MacKenzie Roberts (18:53.21) finished 11th and 12th, respectively.
UVU's five scoring men runners finished in the Top 16, led by Cliff Nielson, who placed third overall with a time of 25:23.34 in the 8K race. Freshmen Macy Butterfield and Trevor Sharp, the GWC Freshman of the Year, also finished in the Top 10 at fifth and seventh, respectively, with times of 25:30.59 and 25:38.10.
"We were nervous about this because we redshirted our top two men and top four women, but we knew we had a shot to win," Houle said. "We didn't know they would run as well as they did. Both teams had great races. They are starting to become smart runners and that's our strength. We ran as a pack and that's how we were able to win."
Houston Baptist's Matt Perri was the top overall finisher with a time of 25:12.66, and Houston Baptist's Judith Chumba was the overall women's finisher with a time of 17:47.26.
Great West Conference Men's Awards
Team champion: Utah Valley Coach of the Year: Scott Houle, UVU
Athlete of the Year: Matt Perri, HBU
Freshman of the Year: Trevor Sharp, UVU
All-GWC Second Team: Tyler Rose (UND), Christian Baumbach (NJIT), Daniel Rondon (NJIT), Brian Mendez (NJIT), Mike Felix (UVU), Kelton Sears (SU), Sebastian Benavides (UTPA)
Great West Conference Women's Awards
Team Champion: Utah Valley Coach of the Year: Scott Houle, UVU Athlete of the Year: Judith Chumba, UTPA Freshman of the Year: Erin Wysocki, UND