Nov. 1, 2008
Complete Results at MWC Championships Central
SAN DIEGO - Some thought the University of New Mexico women didn't have the depth to defeat eight-time champion BYU at the Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships. They were wrong.
The 23rd-ranked Lobos placed their five scoring runners in the top 11 to edge the 29th-ranked Cougars 31-33 in the closest championship meet in MWC history this morning at Mission Bay Park. After three runner-up finishes in 1983, '84 and 2005 - all behind BYU - New Mexico finally broke through for its first conference title in program history.
The championship came down to a neck-and-neck sprint down the final stretch by both teams' No. 5 runners. UNM senior Michelle Corrigan (11th), who suffered an ankle injury a mile into the race, held off BYU sophomore Cecily Lemon (12th) by less than a second to secure the meet-winning point. Both women were officially credited with times of 22:00.
Had Corrigan (Green Bay, Wisc.) finished behind Lemon, the score would have been tied at 32 and BYU would have won the tie-breaker with a higher placing No. 6 runner.
The Lobos' championship run was led by two unlikely sources as true freshman Lacey Oeding (Jasper, Ind.) and senior Carolyn Boosey (London, England) finished second and third, respectively. The duo had been New Mexico's No. 3 or No. 4 runners much of the year before today.
Oeding covered the 6,000-meter course in 21:30 - six seconds behind junior Angela Wagner of BYU and four seconds ahead of Boosey - to earn MWC Freshman of the Year honors with the best conference finish ever by a New Mexico freshman. Oeding was running in the back of the pack through the first 1,000 meters before surging into the lead group. She joined redshirting teammate Vanessa Ortiz (2006) to give the Lobos' their second Freshman of the Year award in three years.
Junior transfer Nicky Archer (Cheshire, England), who led for much of the race, finished seventh with a time of 21:45. Fifth-year senior Leslie Luna (Albuquerque Academy) was eighth with a time of 21:55 - three seconds ahead of BYU's No. 4 runner, Stacy Slight.
Oeding, Boosey and Archer gave the Lobos a program record three first team all-MWC runners, while Luna and Corrigan earned second team honors. The five all-conference selections were also the most in school history. New Mexico has had at least one first team all-MWC runner each of the last six years.
Luna became the second woman in UNM history to earn all-conference honors three times in a career after missing all of 2007 with a foot injury. Corrigan earned all-MWC honors for the second straight season.
Later in the men's 8,000-meter race, junior transfer Jacob Kirwa (Eldoret, Kenya) placed fifth to lead New Mexico to a close third place finish. The Lobos put three runners in the top 10 en route to a score of 64 - two behind second place Air Force. No. 11 BYU cruised to its fifth straight team title with a score of 36.
Kirwa finished less than a second behind BYU senior Kyle Perry (fourth) and 18 seconds behind the winner, Wyoming senior Mark Korir, with a time of 24:40 in his MWC Championships debut. Kirwa gave the Lobos a first team all-MWC runner for the third straight season.
Junior transfer Rory Fraser (Leicester, England) and senior Mat Ashton (Teddington, England) finished ninth and 10th, respectively, to earn second team all-MWC honors. Fraser crossed the line in 24:57 - three seconds ahead of Ashton, who earned all-MWC honors for the second straight season.
New Mexico also had a notable 35th place (26:26) performance from Pecos, N.M. product Patrick Ortiz, who was second among all freshman runners in the veteran-laden field in his MWC debut.
New Mexico Accolades At The 2008 MWC ChampionshipsJoe Franklin - Women's Coach of the Year
Fr. Lacey Oeding - First Team All-MWC, MWC Women's Freshman of the Year
Sr. Carolyn Boosey - First Team All-MWC
Jr. Nicky Archer - First Team All-MWC
Sr. Leslie Luna - Second Team All-MWC
Sr. Michelle Corrigan - Second Team All-MWC
Jr. Jacob Kirwa - First Team All-MWC
Jr. Rory Fraser - Second Team All-MWC
Sr. Mat Ashton - Second Team All-MWC