Franklinís Harriers Tabbed as Favorites to Sweep MW Titles
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  08/21/2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The University of New Mexico men's and women's cross-country teams were selected as the favorites to win their respective 2014 Mountain West cross-country titles as voted by the league's coaches.

The vote, released Thursday, marks the fourth straight year both teams were picked to sweep the conference championships. The women’s squad have won six consecutive conference titles, while the men have won five years in a row.

“It’s a very nice honor,” UNM head coach Joe Franklin said. “The Mountain West keeps getting better and better.”

The New Mexico men's squad seized the top spot in the preseason poll by earning 49 points and seven of the eight first-place votes. The men, who placed 11th at the 2013 NCAA Championships, return All-Mountain West runners Adam Bitchell and Elmar Engholm, among others.

Colorado State scored the final first-place vote and 40 total points to place second, while Air Force and Boise State registered 35 total points apiece en route to sharing third. Wyoming (23 points), Utah State (22), Fresno State (13) and San José State (7) rounded out the nine-team poll, placing fifth-to-eighth, respectively.

“The men's teams keep getting deeper,” Franklin said. “Colorado State, Air Force and Boise State all can make the NCAA championships in November on the men's side.”

On the women's side, the Lobos captured seven of the 11 first-place votes and 97 points total to earn the top position in the women's poll. The women bring back virtually their entire squad — including All-Americans Sammy Silva and Charlotte Arter — that finished 10th at last year’s NCAA Championships.

Boise State took second place with 92 points and the other four first-place votes.

“Boise State keeps getting better and better,” Franklin said. “They have two of the best women distance runners is the country and some incredible recruits that make them a very difficult team to beat.”

Colorado State and its 82 points placed third, with Wyoming in fourth place with 63 points and Utah State in fifth with 61 points.

Air Force (58 points), Nevada (54), Fresno State (41), San Diego State (25), San José State (18) and UNLV (17) claimed sixth place through 11th, respectively.

Both squads pulled off a sweep of the 2013 Mountain West Cross Country Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., last November. They will aim for another conference crown at the 2014 MW Cross Country Championships, which will be hosted by Fresno State on Oct. 31.

But before the Lobos can vie for conference supremacy, they will kick off the 2014 season hosting the 2014 Lobo Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 6, at the University of New Mexico North Golf Course.

Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points
1. New Mexico (7) 49
2. Colorado State (1) 40
3. Air Force 35
  Boise State 35
5. Wyoming 23
6. Utah State 22
7. Fresno State 13
8.  San José State 7

Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points
1. New Mexico (7) 97
2. Boise State (4) 92
3. Colorado State 82
4. Wyoming 63
5. Utah State 61
6. Air Force 58
7. Nevada  54
8. Fresno State 41
9. San Diego State 25
10. San José State 18
11. UNLV 17