OREM — The Utah Valley University men’s and women’s cross-country teams will take the school’s first shot at a WAC title this weekend at the 2013 WAC Cross-Country Championships in Seattle. The race, hosted by Seattle U, will take place at Jefferson Park Golf Course with them men starting at 10 a.m. MT and the women at 11 a.m. MT.

Picked to win this weekend’s championship by the coaches, the men’s team is coming off an impressive finish at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational. The team placed third overall (out of 18 teams) and had its top five runners finish within nine seconds of one another. That finish, combined with being the only regionally ranked team (14th in Mountain Region) has the men entering the weekend with high expectations.

“The kids are really excited to be a part of the WAC Championships and see what they can do,” head coach Scott Houle said. “Winning the conference was one of our goals coming into the season and now it’s just a matter of taking that expectation on the course and racing as well as we can.”

The UVU women will enter the race in an unfamiliar spot as underdogs. The five-time Great West Conference champions are picked third behind three-time champion Idaho and Seattle.

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“Idaho comes in really strong,” Houle said. “We raced them a couple of weeks ago and they beat us so we have a lot of ground to cover to try and catch them but we’re definitely up for the challenge.”

That race was at Santa Clara, where the Vandal women finished fourth and the Wolverines came in 10th. The race was a 6K for women and an 8K for the men, the same distance as this weekend’s conference championships.

Utah Valley will next compete at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Friday, Nov. 15, in Ogden at Schneiter’s Riverside Golf Course in Riverdale, Utah.

Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.