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CSU cross country wins Mountain West award after first meet

Heading up north into enemy territory, Colorado State women’s cross country ran away with the title in the Wyoming Invite last Friday. 

The Rams left Cheyenne, Wyoming, with a first place finish from the women’s team followed by a third place finish from the men’s team.

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Mountain West league offices announced Tuesday that Rams redshirt sophomore Lily Tomasula-Martin is the women’s cross country athlete of the week.

Colorado State University cross country runner Lily Tomasula-Martin during a track workout on Feb. 15 in preparation for the 2019 Mountain West Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

Tomasula-Martin finished fifth in the race and was the Rams’ top finisher, helping lead the Rams to a first place team finish. Tomasula-Martin shattered her previous record in the 5K by 35 seconds, finishing in just 18 minutes and 11.2 seconds. 

Lily (Tomasula-Martin) had a phenomenal summer training, and she is coming off a solid track season. she is one of the captains on the team and does so with strong leadership. She sets a great example at practice every day with positivity and hard work. There are great things ahead for her, and I’m excited to see it.” – Head Coach Art Siemers 

Ahead of Friday, Head Coach Art Siemers said the meet would be a good test for the team early on in the season. 

“It is a small meet, but ultra-competitive,” Siemers said. “Colorado is running their whole squad, and Wyoming has a very strong men’s team that finished 13th last year and are actually ahead of us in the poll currently. It is always fun to see our rivals there. Western [Colorado] also has a really strong Division II program, so we will be able to start off with great competition just down the road that should get us ready.”

A duo of sophomores got it done for the Rams as Tomasula-Martin and sophomore Ivy Gonzales finished fifth and sixth respectively. The Rams had five runners place in the top 15 for the women en route to the victory.

“The women ran so well together in a pack, which is something that we have been working on and haven’t really had in the past,” Siemers said. “We’ve practiced it a lot, but it is really nice to come out here and replicate it. … Overall, I think it was a great start for our team.”

The men’s team also had a successful weekend capped off by a third place finish. Redshirt senior Forrest Barton led the way for the 17th-ranked Rams as he finished in second place overall with a time of 15 minutes and 12.7 seconds. 

“We knew Forrest (Barton) was going to do well today,” Siemers said. “He has really been the rock of our team. He is our top returner from last year. We had too big of a spread today, and we had a few runners out that could step into our top five, but they might be a little tired. We have been training hard, and it is early in the season, so we’ll have our chances with a full team in South Bend (Indiana) for our next meet.”

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Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Lobergerryan.

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