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UVU cross-country: Wolverines look to continue dominance

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CHICAGO – Since Utah Valley University's first running in the Great West Conference Cross Country Meet, the league has known no other women's champion.

The Wolverines hope to keep it that way at the GWC championships Saturday at Montrose Harbor in Chicago.

UVU won its first of four straight titles in 2008, while the men won their first of three straight in 2009.

Last year, the UVU women won the conference title with 37 points, while the men won with 43 points. The meet was contested at Ray Richards Golf Course in Grand Forks, N.D.

In early September, both Wolverine squads were selected by the league's coaches to win the title. The women garnered all six first-place votes, while the men earned all five first-place votes.

Darian Sharp, who has been named the GWC Runner of the Week two times this season, and Krystal Harper lead the women's team, which is coming off a first-place finish in its division at NCAA Pre-Nationals two weeks ago in Louisville, Kent.

On the men's side, Cliff Nielson and Joshua McCabe, who will be competing in his second meet of the season, lead the men's team.

At NCAA Pre-Nationals, Sharp finished seventh (21 minutes, 29.1 seconds), while Harper finished the 6K-race in 22nd (21:54.8).

Behind Sharp and Harper, Stephanie Christense finished 24th (22:05.4); Ivie Gonsalves 53rd (22:30.9); Angie Baker-Blackham 55th (22:32.4); Bridget Hazel 76th (22:51.4); and Ally Deeter 79th (2:53.9).

On the men's side, Nielson placed 44th (23:59.8) in the 8K-race, followed by McCabe 97th (24:28.3); Macy Butterfield 128th (24:40.2); Mike Felix 180th (25:06.5); Trevor Baker 207th (25:20.8); Chris Dorton 231st (25:39.7); and Trevor Sharp 238th (25:44.9).

Jay Hinton is a sports information assistant at Utah Valley University.