Topping off of an already impressive season, the Colorado State men’s cross country won its first ever Mountain West title at the Mountain West Championship in Albuquerque, N.M.
The Rams were led by senior Jerrell Mock who finished the men’s 8k with a time of 23:49. His performance earned him his second individual title at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships.
Mock is only the third two-time Mountain West champion. He is also the only male runner in conference history to have placed second or better three times at the event.
“Jerrell won his two conference championships the hard way,” head coach Art Siemers said in a release. “It’s hard to separate yourself from the pack early on in the race and hold on to win. He got about a 10-to-12-second lead today. The plan was for Jerrell to relax in the pack until he thought he could make a big push and hold it to the finish.”
Mock also earned MW Male Athlete of the Year and first team All-Mountain West honors, the fourth consecutive year he has been named to an All-MW team.
The Rams were dominant and earned only 31 points, topping second-place finisher Air Force (59 points) by 28 points. Cole Rockhold placed second for the Rams with a time of 23:50, while Eric Hamer placed fifth with a time of 23:56.
“Eric Hamer – compare his performance to last year – he’s really starting to establish himself,” Siemers said. “He’s the only one who went with Jerrell for a while, which really helped Jerrell, and had a strong finish. Hats off to them.”
Rockhold and Hamer both joined Mock as first team All-MW selections. Grant Fischer placed eighth in the event, crossing the finish line with a 24:03 time and earning second team honors.
“Cole was going to be a little more patient than the other guys, and he was able to catch Dillon Maggard, one of the best runners in the country,” Siemers said. “Eric (Hamer) and Grant (Fischer) did a great job, finishing just a few seconds behind those guys.”
Trent Powell rounded up the Rams, finishing in 15th place with a time of 24:31. The top-15 finish comes on the heels of a third-place performance at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational.
In his sixth year as head coach, Art Siemers earned Mountain West Men’s Coach of the Year honors to add to a busy day for the program.
“Finishing in second three of the past four years makes this one even sweeter, because this is so hard to do,” Siemers said. “This was a group that I thought could do it. They work so well together and are so dedicated…it’s the best team I’ve ever been a part of. Some of those guys, like Jerrell (Mock) and Grant (Fischer), were on those teams that finished second multiple times, so it’s special for them to get this done. Simply put, it’s just fun when great people have great results. We’ve reached so many of our goals and have some more ahead of us – we’ll see if we can keep this dream season going.”
The Ram women finished seventh with 179 points. Ali Kallner led all CSU runners, placing 34th with a time of 22:06. Macy Kreutz finished with a 22:08 time and placed 36th. New Mexico earned the women’s team title with 22 points.
The men’s team is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation as CSU cross country prepares for the NCAA Mountain Regional in Logan, Utah on Nov. 10.