Bulldogs Host First-Ever Home Cross Country Meet

The University of Montana Western Cross Country team hosted their first-ever home meet on Friday, Oct. 19 with both teams finishing in third place.

Cross Country Home Meet

Mindy Kaufman (at right) of Montana Western was named the Frontier Conference Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week after becoming the top NAIA finisher at the inaugural Montana Western Open.

The meet was held at the old Sleepy Hollow Golf Course and was the most challenging the Bulldogs have faced all season. The course ran along the rolling hills and ponds of the golf course and offered views of the surrounding mountains. Held at over 5,200 feet of elevation combined with unseasonably warm weather made the course challenging to all competitors.

“It’s a tough course,” head coach Dylan Zitzer said, “You definitely have to have core strength here.”

Senior Mindy Kaufman was the top NAIA runner finishing third overall with a time of 19:55. Gabi Gomez finished ninth with a time of 20:28. The women as a team finished third overall behind the College of Southern Idaho and Rocky Mountain College.

“We were maybe a little too eager for our first home meet and started a little too fast, and the toughness of the course came back to bite us,” Zitzer added. “But overall we ran well and now we have to prepare for the Conference meet in two weeks.”

On the men’s side, Russell Kujala added a top-ten finish to his resume crossing the line in ninth place with a time of 27:55. Matt Wilson (28:38) and Tanner Lehr (28:51) were just a few spots behind to finish in 12th and 13th place respectively. The Bulldogs as a team finished third overall behind the College of Southern Idaho and one-point behind Carroll College.

The Bulldogs will run next at the Frontier Conference meet in Great Falls, Mont. on Nov. 2, with the top fifteen individuals qualifying for the NAIA national meet.

The University of Montana Western and the Bulldog Athletic Department would like to thank Corinne Welborn for hosting the event, everyone who came out to support the Bulldogs, and the volunteers who helped make the meet a success: Cory Birkenbuel, Jerry Girard, Janelle Handlos, Russ Richardson, John Schladweiler, and Andrew and Sara Zitzer.

For more information about Montana Western athletics, visit umwbulldogs.com.

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