(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana State University Billing’s cross country teams will be in Boulder, Colo. this weekend as they compete in their third meet of the season at the Rocky Mountain Shootout hosted by the University of Colorado.
The women will race a 5.8K course while the men will complete an 8K. Both teams will run Jawbone Hill, the steepest incline on the Buffalo Ranch course, twice in Boulder, Colo.
“This is a unique race since this course is at a park that is made for running cross country,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said of Buffalo Ranch. “It’s not a public park or golf course like a lot of our events are, this course was designed to challenge runners. Running the main hill isn’t too bad on the first lap but once you loop around and face it the second time you learn a little about yourself and your team. The race moves fast regardless of the runner’s times because you’re constantly engaged with the amount of turns and slopes on the course.”
The Yellowjackets are coming off of a week of rest after competing in the Montana State Invitational on Sep. 16 in Bozeman, Mont. MSUB earned first place in the non-Division I class with a total of 23 points. Tyus Mendoza was the top collegiate finisher in the race with a time of 26:45.6. Ivan Colmenero and Ronald Venema each finished in the top-10 for the ‘Jackets.
Nikki Aiken finished third in Bozeman followed by Bailey Bomar in eighth. Catrina Schuchard and Kateri Bridges completed the MSUB showing as the team didn’t have a fifth runner in the event.
With the time off the team has focused on staying consistent in their training as they begin to increase their team speed in preparation for conference competition.
“What we are working on these last couple weeks is transitioning from base and strength training to speeding things up and increasing intensity while we lower our volume a little,” Woehl said. “We will try to make sure we have a little rest so we can have a good showing at Boulder.”
The Yellowjacket men took second amongst non-Division I school in last year’s Rocky Mountain Shootout, led by then senior Garrett Love and current senior Jorey Egeland. Egeland’s 27:32.8 ranked fourth for affiliated runners in the event. Mendoza and Venema finished third and fourth for MSUB split by just under three seconds. Also returning from last year’s team, Colmenero’s 28:44.8 ranked seventh on the team.
Bomar is the top returning finisher from the Shootout after completing the 5.8K course in 25:21.4. Sophomore Nikki Aiken was close behind with a time of 25:39.0 for the ‘Jackets. The Yellowjackets finished fourth amongst the six-team field in 2016.
“There is a lot of regional overlap that allows a lot of teams to test themselves against one another,” Woehl said of the field. “I expect some top-level competition from Division-I schools and Division-II schools.”