Utah State sophomores sweep cross country season opener Saturday

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State men’s and women’s cross country swept the Utah State Open at the American Heritage Center Saturday. Led by sophomores Brian McKenna and Ruth Hilton, both the men’s and women’s teams dominated the competition. “I am excited about the athletes that are running well on the team and how good they are running at this point in time.” USU head coach Gregg Gensel said. “I’m very pleased with the way our young athletes ran today. They are young and it is early in the season.” Hilton finished first for the women running the 5K course in 17:17.0. “The race was pretty hard but I felt pretty strong and relaxed for most of the way,” Hilton said. Behind Hilton was Weber State’s Sarah Callister at 17:19.9 and in third was USU sophomore Jessie Chugg finishing in 17:23.5. Aggie freshman Alex Litzsinger finished in 17:26.7, tabbing fourth overall. “Jessie (Chugg) and I just stuck with Sarah and it was nice to have that extra push,” Hilton said. Other USU finishers include senior Erin Stratton (17:43.4) in sixth place, junior Justin Baugh (17:45.8) in eighth place, junior Alica Holt (18:11.3) tabbing 15th, junior Kim Quinn (18:22.1) in 20th place, freshman Kaylee Campbell (18:28.5) in 21st place, freshman Stephanie Burt (18:34.4) took 24th place, freshman Amber Rasmussen (18:44.4) took 26th, freshman Talina Nelson (18:46.3) in 28th place, sophomore Amiee Haertel (19:46.8) in 39th place, Julia Johnson (20:29.4) was 44th place and freshman Brittni Hopkin (22:28.9) finished 48th. On the women’s side, Utah State took first, while Weber State finished second and Utah was third. On the men’s side McKenna was the first place finisher cutting the tape of the 7k course in 21:47.9. In second place was Weber State’s Jace Nye clocking in at 22:00.5, followed by Aggie junior Chio Lopez (22:08.1). “It was a fun race,” McKenna said. “It is nice to have a guy to cut the wind like he (Jace Nye) did. It is nice to have experienced runners to pace with and we did that four about four miles.” Other Aggie men finishers include sophomore Steven Atkinson (22:11.6) in fifth place, freshman Daniel Howell (22:14.5) in sixth place, junior Eric Larson (22:23.5) in seventh place, freshman Kyle Moffet (22:43.3) in 12th place, junior Casey Snider (23:13.1) in 17th and freshman Morgan Empey (24:06.4) in 22nd place. As a team the Aggies finished first while Weber State came in second, followed by the Utah Ski team. USU will have a week off before they head to Montana for the Montana State Open on Saturday, Sept. 19.

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