Mounties Race Past Competition, Clinch CCC Championship

CALDWELL, Idaho – Eastern Oregon Men’s Cross Country reminded everyone who runs the CCC Friday afternoon, securing a 1st place finish in the 8K race of the 2023 Cascade Collegiate Conference Championships. The Mounties have impressed all season long, entering the conference championships ranked No. 6 in the NAIA.

“The men went into today with fire in their eyes and a palpable determination in their demeanors,” said head coach Ben Welch. “Not having won a conference title since 2007, coming up short last fall, and being ranked behind College of Idaho all served as some extra fuel to an already raging fire and the performance was one to remember!”

Their victory is a testament to their exceptional teamwork and individual excellence, displaying remarkable consistency throughout the race with an average time of 24 minutes and 55 seconds. EOU maintained a minimal spread of only 29 seconds between their top five runners, highlighting the depth that has allowed the Mountaineers to reach the fastest team score in the conference.

Justin Ash, the team’s front-runner, set an impressive pace, with a time of 24 minutes and 35.1 seconds. He consistently demonstrated strong splits at 2K, 4K, and 6K, highlighting his exceptional endurance and determination. Cristian Mendoza followed closely with a 9th place with a time of 24 minutes and 58.4 seconds, while Hunter Nichols, Thomas Ogden, and Winston Telford also secured 11th, 12th, and 13th places, respectively. Their strong splits and determined efforts throughout the race were pivotal in securing the team’s 1st place finish. Additionally, Jonathan Wind and George Showers, who finished 15th and 22nd, respectively, further emphasized the team’s depth and strong performance.

“Running near the front from the gun, they never backed down and stayed in a tight pack near the front of a VERY aggressive field,” added Welch. “College of Idaho put up a very good fight, but in the end our depth was to much…..putting six guys in the All Conference position of top 15 and a seventh at 21st is an extraordinary performance in a conference this good.”

Friday’s performance secures a spot at the 68th Annual Men’s Cross Country National Championships for the Mountaineers, scheduled to take place on November 17th in Vancouver, Washington.

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