Western scores 3 top 10 finishes on Regional

DENVER Saturday’s snow-covered courses at the NCAA Division II South Central Regional in Washington Park resulted in an automatically qualified (AQ) bid for the Western Colorado Men’s National Meet and a strong result for the women mountaineers.

The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference teams took the top four places in the men’s 10K race, with Western’s third-place finish clinching the last AQ from the region.

The Colorado School of Mines, ranked #1 nationally (USTFCCCA), won the region with 25 points, followed by runner-up Colorado Christian University (12th nationally) with 59 points. Western (7th national) had 103 points while UC Colorado Springs (14th national) finished fourth in the region with 126 points.

The second-place Adams State Grizzlies finished seventh in the region and now have hopes of one of the 10 spots up for grabs in the eight regional events.

In the women’s regional 6K, RMAC teams were the top five on the leaderboard, with Western finishing fifth with 127 points.

Top-seeded Adams State won the regional title by 67 points, just five points ahead of second-place and third-place Colorado Mines. Fourth-placed UC Colorado Springs secured the final AQ spot with 84 points and a third-place finish, while Colorado State University Pueblo (16th nationally) was fourth with 106 points, 21 ahead of 10th-placed Western, who is now looking for one of the 10 free bids.

Western finished the day with three top 10 finishes, led by Katie Doucette’s fourth place finish in the women’s 6K. She clocked a time of 21 minutes, 28.60 seconds and was the second fastest RMAC runner in the event. Her placement in the top five puts Doucette at least as a single runner in the national meeting.

10th place went to Allison Beasley (21:50.99) in the women’s and Simon Kelati (31:09.36) in the men’s 10K.

Kelati led the climber’s red wave across the finish line as the gap between him and the fifth-placed runner was just 53 seconds. The runners two to five were grouped even more closely – only 17 seconds apart.

Jacob Hernandez (31:45.98) was 20th, followed by Albert Hesse (31:52.88) in 23rd and Michael Grabowski (32:55.06) in 24th place. Will Johnson completed the points rankings with a time of 32:02.18 in 26th place.

Breaking the top 20 in the women’s race was Leah Taylor, who finished 16th in a time of 22:08.02.

The last two points finishes for the Western women were Emma Kjellsen (23:00.11) in 44th and Emma Berg (23:21.76) in 57th.

General bids for the December 2nd NCAA D-II national championship races will be announced on Monday, November 21st.