Braden Wins WAC Title

FRESNO, Calif. Senior All-American Forest Braden captured the first individual Western Athletic Conference cross country championship in Boise State University history, Saturday, at Woodward Park.

Braden’s 8,000-meter time of 24-minutes, 15-seconds, was 28 seconds faster than second place finisher Vance Twitchell of Utah State. Braden, who set a Woodward Park record and posted his seventh-career win as a Bronco with his time, was also named WAC Runner of the Year.

Braden has posted top five finishes in each of his five races this season, including his sixth-career individual title at the Charles Bowles Invitational, Sept. 30.

Fellow Boise State senior Ty Axtman, who led the Broncos with a fifth place effort in 2005, tied the previous top finish for a Bronco at the WAC Championships, finishing third with a time of 24:51. Braden finished third in both 2003 and 2004. Axtman has now finished in the top 15 in four of five races this season, including his first career individual title at the Harrier Classic, Sept. 9.

The senior duo led the Broncos to a second place team finish with 37 points, 11 points behind WAC Champion Utah State, and 43 points ahead of third place Idaho. It was the best team finish since 2003, when Boise State also finished runner-up.

Sophomores Breanna Sande and Kendra Hernandez each posted top 10 finishes for the Bronco women, leading the team to a sixth place finish.

Sande finished eighth with a 5,000m time of 18:10.2, while Hernandez finished 10th with a time of 18:11.1. Rhea Richter of Idaho won the event with a time of 17:33.2. Junior Chaly Jones posted her second top 15 finish of the season as a Bronco with a 15th place effort (18:22.8).

In five races this season, Sande has posted four top 25 finishes, including her first career individual title at the Fall Harrier Classic, Sept. 9. Hernandez has five top 25 finishes on the year.

On the men’s side, senior Wijnand Rijkenberg (ninth), junior Cody Eaton (11th) and senior Brandon Christoffersen (13th) also posted top 15 finishes for the Broncos at the conference championships. Rijkenberg came in with a time of 25:55, Eaton posted a time of 26:04 and Christoffersen ran the course in 26:06.

WAC Championships
Oct. 28, 2006
Woodward Park
Fresno, Calif.

Team Results Men (8,000m)
1. Utah State (26), 2. Boise State (37), 3. Idaho (80), 4. Louisiana Tech (89), 5. San Jose State (140), 6. Fresno State (178), 7. New Mexico State (182).

Team Results Women (5,000m)
1. Utah State (63), 2. Nevada (70), 3. San Jose State (80), 4. Idaho (91), 5. Fresno State (109), 6. Boise State (117), 7. New Mexico State (136), 8. Hawaii (192), Louisiana Tech (288).

Bronco Men’s Results
1. Forest Braden (24:15), 3. Ty Axtman (24:51), 9. Wijnand Rijkenberg (25:55), 11. Cody Eaton (26:04), 13. Brandon Christoffersen (26:06), 23. Stanley Chebii (26:50), 32. Reed Huskey (27:15), 42. Darren Strong (28:07), 43. Cameron Lockard (28:12).

Bronco Women’s Results
8. Breanna Sande (18:10.2), 10. Kendra Hernandez (18:11.1), 15. Chaly Jones (18:22.8), 40. Leah Hover (19:32.3), 44. Meadow Braden (19:41.0), 47. Heidi Suder (19:49.8), 50. Nicole Mulberry (19:54.9), 70. Erin Downey (30:01.1), DNF-Hannah Huntting.

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