Sep 8, 2013
RENO, Nev. -
The University of Nevada cross country team had an excellent start to the season winning the Nature's Bakery Nevada Twilight Classic and sweeping the first four places at Shadow Mountain Regional Park in Sparks, Nev. The team finished with 17 points total, beating out second place Pacific who finished with 58, and third place UNLV who finished with 61.
Senior Samantha Diaz won the event for the second year in a row with a time of 14:27 beating the course record she set last year by five seconds. Junior Demerey Kirsch finished close behind in second with a time of 14:40 knocking 11 seconds off of her time from the previous year. Finishing in third and fourth respectively for the Pack were junior Caitlin Devitt-Payne and sophomore Emily Myers. UNLV jumped out to a quick start and pushed the pace early, but by the 3:30 mark senior Samantha Diaz and junior Demerey Kirsch had taken the lead running side by side. Two minutes later the duo had a commanding 15 second lead over the field, and never looked back. Battling for position in a group of eight runners for most of the race were Devitt-Payne and Myers running together followed by sophomores Erika Root and Katie Romanko.
Head coach Kirk Elias was very happy with his team and their performance on the dusty course with a slight smoky haze in the air, "Our team has quality runners and great depth. I was not surprised with how well we ran in the conditions." He wanted the team to focus on running together for this meet, "We talked about being a team and running together to help each other, and we focused on pushing up the middle hill." His team did just what he asked as they moved to the front in groups of two, using the slightly hilly course to their advantage.
Looking forwards the team has three weeks before their next race at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn. "We are looking forwards to training on our feet instead of the stationary bikes," coach Elias said of their time off. With a quick start to the season giving the team some extra confidence, and some improved local air quality expected the cross country team is ready prove themselves.