Sophomore Elise Greenwood notched a breakout year in 2003, finishing as the first Ute in six out of eight races.
March 2, 2004
The 2003 cross country season was a year of development. On the men's side, Head Coach Brian Appell redshirted several key athletes to ensure for a strong team next year. The strategy for the women's team was to allow young athletes to gain experience through competition. Although the season was aimed towards rebuilding for the future of Utah cross country, it also brought some surprises.
A youthful women's team, which included no seniors, posted strong performances at several meets. Sophomore Elise Greenwood notched a breakout year, finishing as the first Ute in six out of eight races. She had a slew of impressive races including a sixth-place finish in the 6,000 meters (21:56) at the conference championships.
Junior Nellie Hammons, normally known for her middle distance strength, proved to be Utah's second-best runner. At the conference championships, she placed 16th with an impressive 22:57 finish. Hammons had another great performance at the Mountain Region Championships, finishing 54th overall with 23:01.
The women's team had several consistent runners to round out the top five, including junior Jennifer Brusch, senior Andrea Davidson and newcomer Jennie Haertel. The young team finished behind No. 1 BYU, No. 16 Colorado State and Air Force for fourth in the conference. But the team did struggle at the region championships, finishing 15th.
Ten members of the women's cross country team garnered academic all-Mountain West Conference honors. Those honored were: Andrea Davidson, Liz Freedman, Elise Greenwood, Jennifer Gustavson, Jennie Haertel, Nellie Hammons, Nicki Hugie, Season Meservey, Kristin Taylor and Ashlee Warnick. The women's team looks to build on its success from this season-the Utes retain the majority of the team next year.
The men's team was equally young with seniors Delfino Arevalo, Nephi Tyler and Colby Frazier redshirting the year. That paved the way for veteran Jeff Davidson, sophomore Matt Hansen and freshmen Tim Goldhardt, Nick McKay and JP Rooney to fill in.
The senior Davidson led the men in all seven races, which included a 27th-place finish in the conference championships. The team finished sixth at the league championships. Davidson was also the lone Utah male runner to compete at the region championships.
Overall the Utes had a successful development year with their younger runners. Those runners will now possess the experience needed to back up returners Arevalo, Tyler and Frazier. On the men's side, J.P. Rooney and Tim Goldhardt earned academic all-MWC honors.
Ute fans can expect strong teams for the 2004 season. The Utes will welcome back several strong runners on both sides and will look to make some noise throughout the season.