USU cross-country: men's team picked by coaches to win 2012 WAC Cross-Country Championship

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 23 2012 11:26 a.m. MDT

The Utah State men's cross-country team was picked by the league’s nine coaches to win its seventh Western Athletic Conference Championship in the last eight years; it was announced by the league office. This marks the sixth-straight year the Aggie men have been atop the WAC Pre-Championship Coaches Poll.

The USU women were chosen to finish third in the poll, collecting 55 points behind Idaho (68) and New Mexico State (65), respectively. On the men's side, Utah State received four first-place votes and 65 points followed by New Mexico State (60) and Seattle U (58) with two first-place votes each.

“I have mixed emotions on being picked to win the men’s title,” USU head coach Gregg Gensel said. “It is great to be recognized by the other coaches in the conference, but I don’t want it to give our athletes a false sense of security. I am actually surprised and don’t know why they picked us to win it based on how we have ran up to this point, but that is why you run the race. We feel the race is wide open on both the men and women’s side. It is a great honor and we are excited about that but we just need to run the race and see where we are.”

The 2012 WAC Championships will be hosted by Louisiana Tech at the Lincoln Parish Park in Ruston, La., on Saturday, Oct. 27. The women harriers will start the action at 8 a.m. (MT) followed by the men's race at 9. Results will be posted to USU website.

Junior Kyle McKenna has led USU all season as the top finisher at each meet, highlighted by finishing 51st (24:03.9) out of 272 runners at the NCAA Pre-National meet in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 13. Senior Alex Litzsinger has helped pace the Aggie women as the top finisher at each meet this season as she also performed well in Louisville with a third-place finish (21:15.4) out of 243 runners.

The Utah State women rank 12th in the Mountain Region, while the men rank 14th, according to the latest rankings by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Attendance at the 2012 WAC Championships is free for all fans.

Following the conference championships, USU will continue the 2012 season at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Fort Collins, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 9.

2012 PRE-CHAMPIONSHIP MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY COACHES POLL

Rank - Teams (first-place votes) - Points

1. UTAH STATE (4) - 65

2. New Mexico State (2) - 60

3. Seattle U (2) - 58

4. Idaho - 50

5. UT Arlington (1) - 48

6. UTSA - 42

7. San Jose State - 26

8. Texas State - 24

9. Louisiana Tech - 19

2012 PRE-CHAMPIONSHIP WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY COACHES POLL

Rank - Teams (first-place votes) - Points

1. Idaho (6) - 68

2. New Mexico State (2) - 65

3. UTAH STATE - 55

4. UTSA (1) - 53

5. UT Arlington - 44

6. Seattle U - 40

7. San Jose State - 29

8. Texas State - 25

9. Louisiana Tech - 17

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

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