Sept. 27, 2008
MINNEAPOLIS - The University of New Mexico women's cross country team entered the week hovering outside of the national top-30 rankings. After its performance this afternoon at Minnesota's elite Roy Griak Invitational, the Lobos proved they belong among the top teams in the country.
New Mexico placed its top four runners in the top-25 en route to a third place finish (89 points) in the field of 23 today at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. The Lobos knocked off No. 20 Duke (105) and finished behind only No. 9 Minnesota (31) and No. 5 Arizona State (46).
The 15th-ranked UNM men finished tied for sixth (215) in a field of 25, despite two of its top three runners - senior Mat Ashton and junior Rory Fraser - slowed by a week-long bout of the flu. Division II power Adams State was a surprise winner (75), while No. 30 BYU was third (91).
Seniors Michelle Corrigan and Carolyn Boosey finished eighth and 10th, respectively, to lead the New Mexico women. Corrigan moved up 12 spots over the second half of the 6,000-meter race, finishing with a time of 21:39.9 in her season debut. The Green Bay, Wisc. product has led the Lobos in every race since joining the program last fall.
Boosey, meanwhile, passed seven runners over the final 3K, crossing the line with a time of 21:43.8. Junior transfer Nicky Archer paced the Lobos' early, running with the top five runners much of the race before placing 16th - just eight seconds behind Boosey.
True freshman Lacey Oeding had perhaps the most impressive performance of the day for UNM, moving up 39 spots over the final 3,000 meters to place 23rd overall with a time of (22:04.8). Junior transfer Ashley Gibson capped the Lobo scoring with a 34th place finish (22:21.4).
"The women were incredible today," said second-year Lobo head coach Joe Franklin. "We lost to a strong Minnesota team that was running on its home course and an Arizona team that was holding a trophy last fall (fourth place at 2007 NCAA Championships), but by no means we outclassed."
Junior transfers David Bishop and Jacob Kirwa finished 17th and 18th, respectively, to pace the New Mexico men. Bishop, who was third on the team three weeks ago at the Lobo Invitational, passed 17 runners over the final 3,000 meters, completing the 8K course in 24:49.8. Kirwa was just over a second behind at 24:51.2.
As Franklin had feared earlier in the week, a flu bug hampered the men's team considerably. Team leader Mat Ashton ran sixth on the team and 76th overall, while Fraser was well off the pace he established in his debut race on Sept. 6 in Albuquerque when he ran right behind Kirwa.
"You never want to make excuses and the bottom line is that we didn't do what we set out to do today, but two of our top three runners were sick all week and we rolled the dice and tried to see what they could give us," Franklin said. "On a hilly course against the type of competition we saw today, it just didn't work out, but we are absolutely a top-25 team.
"The silver lining is the performances like ones that David Bishop gave us. We know that we have guys who can step up and lead us even if we're not at full strength."
The Lobos return to the Midwest on Friday when they travel to South Bend, Ind. for the Notre Dame Invitational.