NMSU Women's Cross Country Wins WAC Championship, Men Place Third

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State cross country posted impressive performances on Saturday at the NMSU Golf Course when the women's team won the 2017 Western Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship and the men's team finished third.

"This is something that started a few years ago. We've made some progress and this is just a culmination of hard work over those years," said assistant coach Joseph Rath. "When you talk about home field advantage in cross country, we definitely felt that today."

The women's squad won its first WAC Championship since 2009, scoring 47 points and claiming the tiebreaker over Utah Valley. Crissey Amberg finished in second overall with a time of 17:02 Julia Yescas followed closely behind the senior, clocking in at 17:16 for fourth. Freshmen Jess Dominguez was the third NM State runner to cross the finish line, posting a time of 17:23 for 10th place. Cassey Amberg (17:48) and Sydney Salas (17:49) rounded out the team, placing 15th and 16th respectively.

"Crissey [Amberg] and Julia [Yescas] both asserted themselves from the beginning in the front group. Julia is someone in particular who made a huge jump after winning Freshman of the Year last season," Rath said. "It was great watching Crissey finish as strong as she did, runner-up is definitely her best finish yet."

The men's team posted its best finish since 2014 by tallying a third place mark with 53 points at the meet. Aaron Valenzuela clocked in at 24:13 for fifth place. A trio of Aggies clocked in next for NM State including Jereme Santistevan (24.33), Abel Ketema (24.34) and Jose Silva (24:36) for 10th 11th, and 12th, respectively. Senior Eli Kosgei rounded out the pack for the Aggies when he placed 15th recording a time of 24:44.

"We've been preaching all season that these five guys are a really strong pack and they can interchange between first and fifth on at any given race," Rath said. "Particularly, Aaron [Valenzuela] ran the race of his life today. He stepped up huge for us and looked great. As a team we took a huge step forward, they ran really well."

New Mexico State landed a total of seven runners on the All-WAC teams. On the women's side, Cr. Amberg and Yescas earned first team honors while Dominguez received second team accolades. For the men's side, Valenzuela was the lone Aggie on the first team while Santistevan, Ketema and Silva earned second team honors. Following the meet, Rath was named the Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year, as voted on by the league's head coaches.

New Mexico State is back in action Friday, Nov. 10, when they compete at the NCAA Mountain Regional in Logan, Utah.