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GWC Cross Country Championships Set for Saturday

UVU looks to remain the only team to hold GWC Women's Championship in 2011

UVU looks to remain the only team to hold GWC Women's Championship in 2011

Oct. 28, 2011

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The 2011 Great West Conference Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships are set for Saturday morning at Ray Richards Golf Course in Grand Forks, N.D., with the University of North Dakota serving as host.

It is the fourth championship cross country event for the GWC with Utah Valley claiming the three previous women's titles and the past two men's championships. Texas-Pan American won the inaugural men's crown in 2008.

The men's 8K race will start at 11:30 a.m. (CT), while the women's 5K race is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m.

"It's going to be a pretty close battle. The conference is getting deeper with better individual athletes and better teams," said UVU cross country coach Scott Houle. "Our teams are confident. They definitely want to put out their best efforts to win it again. They don't want to give up the title we've been fortunate to win the last couple of years."

Shelise Walker, a two-time GWC Athlete of the Week winner in 2011 and a second-team All-Conference honoree last season, leads the UVU women's team, while Cliff Nielson has paced the Wolverine men this season.

Other top male performers this season have been HBU's Matt Perri and Maximo Mendoza, and Mathew Kotut of Texas-Pan American. All three runners claimed First Team All-GWC honors last season. Kelton Sears of Seattle U and NJIT's Brian Mendez received second-team honors a year ago and have also enjoyed good seasons in 2011. NJIT's Christian Baumbach, the 2009 GWC Individual Medalist, will also be back to try to reclaim his title. Host team North Dakota has been paced by Tyler Rose this season, and Tim Rowberry of Utah Valley looks to have another good performance after claiming second-team All-GWC honors in 2010.

Joining Walker as ones to watch on the women's side are Lilian Lagat and Judith Chumba of Texas-Pan American who were both first-team honorees last season, UVU's Jessica Wilding and Ivie Gonsalves who both joined teammate Walker in receiving second-team honors last season, Seattle's Hannah Mittelstaedt, and returning first-team All-GWC honoree Emily Emerson of the host Fighting Sioux.