USU cross-country: McKenna and Litzsinger lead USU Saturday with solid finishes at NCAA Pre-National Meet

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13 2012 4:43 p.m. MDT

Utah State men's and women's cross-country teams had solid performances at the NCAA Pre-National meet at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday. Junior Kyle McKenna and senior Alex Litzsinger led USU with the team's top finishes for the fourth-straight meet this season.

McKenna crossed the finish line in 51st place in the men's seeded 8K race with a time of 24:03.9, which would have been good enough for second place in the unseeded men's race. Litzsinger finished the women's unseeded race with a time of 21:15.4 to claim third place. McKenna and Litzsinger also represented the best times for the Western Athletic Conference.

As a team, the USU women finished fourth out of 26 teams in the unseeded race with 188 points, while the Utah State men tallied 732 points in the seeded race to finish 30th out of the top 40 teams.

"I think our teams improved today, both on the men's and women's side. The athletes did a nice job of doing what we asked them to do," Aggie head coach Gregg Gensel said. "Running this race prepares us for the WAC Championships and it will seem like a smaller race with less pressure. I think the results today show a good step in our athletes development. If you compare the times from both races for the men and women, we did well against the other WAC runners and that should give us confidence going into the conference championships."

Freshman Tylee Newman joined Litzsinger in the top 25 with a 24th-place finish (21:56.7), while fellow Aggie freshman Jacqueline Winterton ended the day in 59th place (22:25.4). Junior Hannah Williams and freshman Kelsey Girardelli rounded out the top 100 finishes for the Utah State women as they placed 63rd (22:29.4) and 93rd (22:50.2), respectively.

Sophomores Eric Shellhorn and Kade Jensen crossed the finish line with times of 24:54.3 and 24:58.3, respectively, which was good enough for 156th and 161st places. Senior Aaron Clements joined Shellhorn and Jensen in the middle pack, placing 162nd with a time of 24:58.6.

Action will continue for USU with the WAC Championships being held in Ruston, La., on Saturday, Oct. 27. The Aggie men will look to defend their 2011 title, while the USU women look to win their first WAC title since 2008.

UTAH STATE RESULTS

NCAA PRE-NATIONALS

LOUISVILLE, KY.

OCTOBER 13, 2012

WOMEN'S TEAM RESULTS (UNSEEDED 6K):

1. Utah Valley - 154

2. West Virginia - 157

3. South Carolina - 188

4. UTAH STATE - 188

5. Furman - 189

...

26. Loyola (Ill.) - 743

USU WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (UNSEEDED 6K):

3. Alex Litzsinger, 21:15.4

24. Tylee Newman, 21:56.7

59. Jacqueline Winterton, 22:25.4

63. Hannah Williams, 22:29.4

93. Kelsey Girardelli, 22:50.2

107. Brittany Bushman, 23:00.1

149. Karli Lundquist, 23:26.8

MEN'S TEAM RESULTS (SEEDED 8K):

1. Colorado - 72

2. BYU - 127

3. Oregon - 152

4. Florida State - 275

5. Duke - 287

...

30. UTAH STATE - 732

...

40. Kennesaw State - 970

USU MEN'S INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (SEEDED 8K):

51. Kyle McKenna, 24:03.9

156. Eric Shellhorn, 24:54.3

161. Kade Jensen, 24:58.3

162. Aaron Clements, 24:58.6

202. Tyler Roberts, 25:17.1

227. Chris Martinez, 25:34.2

267. Tom Derr, 26:43.7

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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