MSU Denver cross-country competed in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championship Oct. 20 at Monument Valley Park in Colorado Springs.
The regionally-ranked No. 7 men’s team tied for fifth place with No. 8 New Mexico Highlands-Las Vegas. Of the 13 men’s teams running in the championship, seven of them are ranked in the top 10 of the South Central Region.
It was no surprise that Adams State University, Colorado School of Mines and Western State University teams finished the race in the order they are ranked.
The lady Roadrunners placed sixth from a field of 14 teams, of which five are ranked in the top 10.
Metro junior Kirk Harvey led the men, placing 16th in 26:03.6. The finish earned Harvey third team all-RMAC honors.
“I feel like I ran well against some of the top runners in our conference,” Harvey said. “I ran as hard as I could as long as I could. At least now I have an idea of what I need to do to prepare for regionals.”
Head coach John Supsic said he was pleased with Harvey’s performance but said there is room to improve.
“I think he ran a smart race today, but maybe a little conservative overall,” Supsic said. “We still have some work to do over the next couple of weeks if he wants to get to nationals.”
Freshman Janelle Lincks led the lady Runners in 23:15.4. Her 13th place finish earned Lincks second team all-conference, an honor for Lincks and Metro.
“We have never had anyone in school history finish higher than second team all conference, and as a freshman,” Supsic said. “This was a second sport for her, and it’s a testament to what kind of athlete she is. You put her on a basketball court, in a bowling alley, or have her shooting arrows, she is going to figure out a way to do a good job at it.”
Since Lincks is such a competitor, she was not satisfied with where she finished.
“I was a little disappointed in 13th because I started off good, but started the take away too early,” Lincks said. “It was a matter of me not staying focused.”
The Roadrunners will compete in the South Central Regional championships Nov. 3 at Willis Case Golf Course in Denver.
Harvey and Lincks have led their teams in points this season and are the best chance for the Roadrunners to place well in the regional race and earn a place in the NCAA championship. But, the two runners have different opinions about their individual chances.
“I feel like realistically I can place well in regionals where I will be running against the same guys I ran against today,” Harvey said. “I think I am better in the 10K because the longer distance makes it a little slower pace — I have a better endurance for it and it helps that I am a taller runner with a longer stride.”
Lincks said she doesn’t anticipate going to national this year, but thinks her team could make that trip next season.
“Realistically, I don’t anticipate going to nationals this year, not that I won’t run my hardest,” Lincks said. “As far as the team and nationals, I don’t know if that will happen this year, but we have such a young team and we are building from it.”