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
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 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
“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
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.