Las Cruces, NM — The New Mexico State cross country team travels to Seattle, Wash., Saturday, Nov. 2, for the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
The Aggies had a week off from competition after running in the Santa Clara Invitational (Oct. 19).
“With the dynamic of the WAC changing, we feel that our men should battle for a top spot,” coach Christopher Huff said. “I think it’s safe to say that they should be able to battle for the top three.”
The men’s team enters the WAC Championships coming off a season that has had plenty of competition for the top spot throughout the season.
Juniors Hab Rubio and Nathan Starr have both spent time as NM State’s top finishers.
Starr spent the majority of the season as the top runner for the Aggies. He finished first for the team in the first four races of the season. One of Starr’s top performances came at the Aggie-hosted Kachina Classic (Sept. 28), where he finished fourth overall with a time of 16:37.07.
Rubio stayed on Starr’s heels during the season as he finished second for the Aggies on several occasions. That was until the Rim Rock Collegiate Classic (Oct. 5), where Rubio took the top spot for the team in the 8K run with a time of 25:49.17. Rubio followed that performance by finishing first for the team in the Santa Clara Invite (Oct. 19), another 8K, with a time of 24:47.7.
Starr and Rubio are joined by senior Bryan Simison, juniors Erik Perez and Evan Bekes, and sophomores Jason Saiz and Christopher Silva for the WAC Championships.
“The women have ran hard all year long and I don’t think this weekend will be any different,” Huff said.
The women’s team has been competitive as a team and also as individuals all season. The team has had a constant leader in junior Diana Hawk this year.
Hawk finished first for the Aggies in all six races, and finished first overall in four. Hawk ran a variety of distances during the season including the three-mile run, 5K and 6K. Her season started on a high note as she took first overall at the Texas Tech Dual (Aug. 30).
Hawk continued the early-season success by taking first overall in the Lobo Invitational (Sept. 7), the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational (Sept. 13) and the Kachina Classic. Hawk also finished among the top 30 runners in the Rim Rock Collegiate Classic and the Santa Clara Invitational, against Division-I opponents. Hawk was named WAC Athlete of the Week twice this season.
Throughout the season, Hawk was followed by several different teammates, including senior Sarabel Bojorquez. In four meets this season, Bojorquez finished in the top three for the Aggies. Her best performance was her second-place finish, with a time of 14:24.3, in the Lori Fitzgerald Invite.
Junior transfer Megan McNally joined the Aggies this season and made an immediate impact on the team from the start. McNally had four top-five finishes this season. Her best performance was at the Kachina Classic, where she posted her season-best time in the 5K at 19:26.85.
Seniors Christiana Barela, Gael Sanchez and junior Victoria Trujillo will also join the women’s team for the WAC Championships on Saturday.
“This is a huge benefit whenever you make a WAC team, especially when you’re a younger runner,” Huff said. “It gives you an idea of how hard it is to be an all-WAC runner and also the type of effort and sacrifice it will take to win a WAC Championship.”
Any Aggies who qualify for the NCAA Regional Round will travel to Ogden, Utah to compete on Nov. 15.