Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
Vandal cross country poses with its 2011 WAC trophy.
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 10/29/2011
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HONOLULU, Hawai`i – The youth movement prevailed on Saturday morning, as University of Idaho women’s cross country claimed a second-consecutive Western Athletic Conference title on the heels of four sophomores.

“This has been our team goal from almost exactly a year ago after last year’s championship,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country said. “I’m so impressed with every one of those runners. That group did a fantastic job of working hard all through the summer, and the amount of improvement they’ve made is just amazing.”

Standout second-year Vandal Hannah Kiser finished second overall to lead the women, while fellow sophomores Emily Paradis and Alycia Butterworth claimed fourth and fifth, and senior Anna Kalbrener took eighth to pace Idaho.

Sophomore Holly Stanton put a cap on Idaho’s scoring after coming in 19th overall, while seniors Lauren Schaffer and Julia Veseth took 25th and 38th, respectively, to round out the individual results.

Kiser saw her season-long unbeaten streak end in the race, but Phipps said he was still very impressed with the fact that she finished after suffering through illness throughout the race.

“She struggled to finish with the heat and humidity and essentially had to jog it in,” Phipps said. “Give her a ton of credit for gutting it out and finishing the race for the team. A lot of people would have dropped out in that situation, but she stuck with it to make sure the team got the points.”

The Vandal women posted a team score of 38 to easily outdistance the field by a 15-point margin. New Mexico State was the second finisher on the women’s side with a score of 53.

Phipps was honored with his second-consecutive WAC Women’s Coach of the Year honor after the meet. It’s his fourth such honor since Idaho joined the conference in 2005. Kiser, Paradis and Butterworth earned First-Team All-WAC honors, while Kalbrener added a second-team accolade.

The Vandal men’s race was highlighted by a set of outstanding individual performances, but also one bit of bad luck. Junior Barry Britt and senior Markus Geiger finished second and third, respectively, and senior Jeremiah Dubie came in seventh overall to claim a trio of First-Team All-WAC honors and lead the squad.

“When you think about Markus Geiger’s career, he never finished worse than fourth at a conference meet,” Phipps said. “Barry Britt has had two great WAC performances and for Dubie, the improvements he’s made have been incredible, and it’s all a testament to his hard work and sacrifices the last few years.”

Senior Stephane Colle, Idaho’s top finisher in two races this season, suffered cramps midway through the race while running in the lead pack, and was forced to stop and recuperate before eventually re-starting and finishing 21st.

“He really started cramping up and had to stop, but then he came back and still finished strongly for us,” Phipps said of Colle. “It just didn’t work out for him today, but I know he’s going to rebound for us this year.”

The Vandal men scored 59 points to take third overall, while Utah State claimed the men’s title with a score of 35. Geiger, Britt and Dubie all earned First-Team All-WAC honors for the men.

Next on tap for the Vandals is the NCAA West Region Championships and Phipps said he’s still anxious to see what his teams can do when everyone puts together strong races at the same event.

“Today was not our best race and it wasn’t the best of conditions, but I know that if we get everyone running their race on the same day, we have a really good shot of jumping up and surprising some people in the region,” Phipps said.

The Vandals will compete at the NCAA Regional meet on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Palo Alto, Calif.

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