SUU Women Place First in XC ChampionshipsNovember 04, 2009
It wasn't quite the clean sweep that the Thunderbirds were hoping for on both sides, but the SUU women swept every award at the 2009 Summit League Cross Country Championships on Saturday morning. The men, led by Cameron Levins' first-place finish on the men's side, earned the runner-up trophy, just missing out on a conference title by five points.
The newly-crowned Summit League women champions were led by SUU senior Sharla Manuele, who finished almost 20 seconds ahead of teammate and second-place finisher Diana Medina who crossed the line in 22:09.50. Manuele's time of 21:50 broke her course record set earlier this year by five seconds. Southern Utah then used the efforts of Madalyn Olpin (5th, 22:38.70), Whitney Curtis (11th, 23:05.40) and Shelli Richardson (13th, 23:05.40) to record a team score of 32 - more than 60 points lower than the next team total.
Manuele was honored as the Conference Women's MVP, Curtis was named the Conference Newcomer of the Year and SUU head coach Eric Houle was awarded his 34th Conference Coach of the Year award as the women took home the team title for the ninth time since coming into the Summit League in 1997.
Manuele, Medina and Olpin each earned first-team all-conference honors with their finish as Curtis and Richardson were awarded second-team honors for their performances.
On the men's side, Levins finished just ahead of Oral Roberts' Jonah Lagat, finishing with a time of 24:48.00 to Lagat's 24:48.70. Kevin Sandall finished just behind that pair in fourth place with a time of 25:26.70. True freshman Hayden Hawks was the next finisher for the Thunderbirds, crossing the line in 13th-place with a time of 26:10.90, followed by Skylar Riggs (22nd, 26:26.90) and Graham Cheever (24th, 26:38.20). The top five for Southern Utah totaled 64 points, but it was South Dakota State's bunch-finish of ten through 12 that ultimately sealed the championship for the Jackrabbits. SDSU had all five finisher cross the line in the top 20 to tally a team score of 59.
Levins and Sandall each garnered first-team all-conference honors for their performance with Hawks earning second-team honors for his finish.
Southern Utah will now have two weeks off as the team prepares to compete at the NCAA Mountain Regionals hosted by the University of New Mexico on Nov. 15.