SUU men’s cross-country team places 9th at national championships; BYU women win title

In this file photo, Southern Utah senior Christian Ricketts competes at the OSU Invitational, Stillwater, Okla., Oct. 17, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Bryson Lester, SUU Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University’s men’s cross-country team placed ninth overall out of 30 teams at the NCAA Division I championships in Oklahoma on Monday. It marked the best finish in SUU’s history.

The event, held at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, is considered to be the 2020 national championships, postponed from last fall due to COVID-19. Monday’s races, which were staged under windy conditions, featured the nation’s top 30 men’s and women’s teams, along with a host of individual qualifiers.

Leading the way for the SUU men was senior Christian Ricketts, who finished 31st overall with a time of 30:37.9 in the 10,000-meter race and posting a score of 28. He also earned All-American honors.

Also for SUU, senior Nate Osterstock placed 48th with a time of 31:00.3, while junior Stefan Rasmuson finished in 52nd with a time of 31:02.1, senior Aidan Reed finished 88th with a time of 31:24.5, junior Isaiah Labra placed 97th with a time of 31:32.1, freshman Travis Feeny finished 115th with a time of 31:39.4 and freshman Santiago Gaitan finished 140th with a time of 32:06.4.

SUU’s top five finishers ended up with a team score of 270, just five points behind sixth-place Iowa State and 16 points behind defending champion BYU, which placed seventh.

Winning the individual men’s race was BYU junior Conner Mantz, who pulled away at the end to finish in 29:26.1, more than 22 seconds ahead of the runner-up. The men’s team championship went to Northern Arizona, which placed four runners among the top 10. It was NAU’s fourth national championship in the last five seasons.

SUU also had one athlete compete in the 6,000-meter women’s race. Alison Pray, a senior, placed 50th overall with a time of 21:04.4.

The BYU women’s team took first place overall, winning the national title by a commanding 65-point margin. Senior Whittni Orton, a native of Panguitch, coming off an injury and competing in her first race of the year, led for much of the middle third of the race but began to fall back a bit just past the 5,000-meter mark. She ended up placing 17th, just seconds behind teammates Anna Camp and Aubrey Frentheway, who took 11th and 15th, respectively.

For complete official individual and team results, click here.

NCAA Division I 2020 cross-country championships

March 15, 2021, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Top 11 men’s team results

  1. Northern Arizona, 60
  2. Notre Dame, 87
  3. Oklahoma State, 142
  4. Arkansas, 181
  5. Stanford, 194
  6. Tulsa, 237
  7. BYU, 254
  8. Iowa State, 265
  9. Southern Utah, 270
  10. Iona, 311
  11. Utah State, 351

 Top 10 women’s team results

  1. BYU, 96
  2. N.C. State, 151
  3. Stanford, 207
  4. Michigan State, 212
  5. Minnesota, 239
  6. New Mexico, 274
  7. Colorado, 279
  8. Alabama, 280
  9. Boise State, 304
  10. Arkansas, 316

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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