Bates, Elliott Collect Mountain West Titles
Oct. 31, 2014
FRESNO, Calif.-- Emma Bates and David Elliott made history on Friday; sweeping individual titles at the 2014 Mountain West Championships held at Woodward Park in Fresno, Calif. Bates became the first back-to-back cross country champion in school and Mountain West history. The nine-time All American won her second cross country conference title in a time of 19:37.3. Elliott won his second collegiate race of his career, racing to victory in 23:38.7. Bates and Elliott’s wins mark the second time in school history sweeping individual conference titles, since Melinda Campbell and Cormac Smith accomplished the feat in 1997 (BWC).
In the women’s race, redshirt seniors Bates and Marisa Howard stuck to their race strategy, gunning out ahead from the beginning in the 6-kilometer race. The duo ran together from the time the gun sounded and consistently increased the gap from the changing third-place runner.
Howard handedly took second place, crossing the line in 19:53.4. She improved from her two-straight third place finishes in 2012 and 2013. Howard earned First Team All-MW honors with her second-place finish, and her fourth career All-Conference honor.
Bates’ back-to-back cross country Mountain West title marks the fourth time a Bronco woman has achieved consecutive MW individual titles in the same event. Bates previously garnered three-consecutive conference titles in the 3,000m (indoor track & field, 2012-14), and joins Marisa Howard: 3,000m steeplechase (outdoor track & field, 2013-14) and Rachel Heaney: 200 butterfly (swimming & diving, 2013-14).
With the individual win, Bates earned her second-straight First Team All-MW and MW Female Athlete of the Year accolades. The Athlete of the Year award is presented to the top men’s and women’s finisher at the championship race.
Defying projections, David Elliott claimed the men’s individual crown. The senior from Bellingham, Wash., finished the 8-kilometer course in a time of 23:38.7 for his second win in his collegiate career. Elliott claimed his first individual victory in this year’s season opener at the Utah Open on Sept. 5.
Unlike the women’s race, the men’s 8-kilometer race was tight from the start. Along with Elliott, freshmen Andrew Rafla and Michael Vennard were in the tight lead pack, along with several other conference runners. Elliott began to pull away by a few paces around the 4-kilometer mark, with many runners nipping at his heels. Elliott never ceded the lead position, sprinting to the finish line with a quick glance back before stopping the clock in 23:38.7. His win garnered Mountain West Male Athlete of the Year honors.
Elliott’s win marks the first individual Mountain West cross country victory for the Broncos and the first individual win since Forest Braden in 2006 (WAC).
Not only did the Broncos sweep individual titles and individual Athlete of the Year accolades, but secured Freshman of the Year honors as well. Freshmen Emma Hyyppä and Andrew Rafla took home the rookie accolades, after Hyyppä’s 23rd-place performance (21:23.9) and Rafla’s 10th-place finish (23:51.7). Rafla also won second team All-MW honors, becoming the first Bronco freshman to achieve the feat.
The Bronco women took second place for the second year in a row. The women’s team scored 58 points, improving from their 60-point finish from last year. Sophomore Sarah Hastings was the third Bronco to cross the line, placing 13th in 20:54.60, earning Second Team All-MW honors. Fellow sophomore Anna Holdiman ran her best race of the season, crossing the line in 21:22.4. Hyyppä came in close after for 23rd place, followed by Gracie Tostenson as the fifth-scoring Bronco (31st, 21:36.7).
The University of New Mexico swept the team titles for the sixth-straight season. The Lobo women captured their seventh-straight championship with 33 points, while the men earned their sixth-straight with 26 points.
Next on deck for the Blue and Orange is the 2014 NCAA West Regionals on Nov. 14, at the Stanford Golf Course in Palo Alto, Calif. The race will begin at noon (MT).
Men's Team Scores: 1. New Mexico, 26; 2. Air Force, 73; 3. Colorado State, 76; 4. Boise State, 79; 5. Utah State, 152; 6. Wyoming, 160; 7. Fresno State, 181; 8. San José State, 197.
Women's Team Scores: 1. New Mexico, 33; 2. Boise State, 58; 3. Wyoming, 79; 4. Colorado State, 103; 5. Air Force, 141; 6. Nevada, 163; 7. Utah State, 180; 8. Fresno State, 225; 9. UNLV, 245; 10. San Diego State, 276; 11. San José State, 295.
Mountain West Men's Student-Athlete of the Year: David Elliott, Sr., Boise State
Second Team All-MW
First Team All-MW
Second Team All-MW
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