Orediggers picked to finish second in Frontier Mens and Womens Cross Country
The following is a release from the Montana Tech Athletic Department.
HELENA, Mont. – The Frontier Conference has released the 2023 preseason cross country coaches’ poll today. Defending champion Carroll College is picked to win both the men’s and women’s titles. Montana Tech was picked to finish second in both polls followed by Rocky Mountain College, Montana Western, the University of Providence, and MSU-Northern. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. First place was worth five points, a second-place vote is worth four points, third place worth three points, fourth worth two, and a fifth-place vote is worth one point. There are 90 total points available.
Montana Tech head coach Zach Kughn returns for his fourth season along with two NAIA All-Americans, one on each roster. "We returned all four runners from National's a year ago, and I'm excited to see what this team can do,” said Kughn. “For the first time I feel like we have experience we aren't all freshman anymore, the program is starting to establish its upperclassman."
On the women’s side, Butte’s Hailey Nielson finished in 35th in a field of 326 last season at the NAIA Cross Country Championships held in Tallahassee, Florida. The top 40 runners receive All-American honors. A junior this year, Nielson qualified for nationals as a freshman finishing 55th overall. Carlin Manning is another returning Oredigger who qualified and ran at the nationals meet a year ago where she finished 159th overall. The senior from Kalispell will be looking to make it three straight trips to the national championship this year.
On the men’s side, the Orediggers return All-American Edwin Kipainoi. The redshirt senior from Kajiado, Kenya finished in 31st place in Tallahassee in a field of 318 runners. He finished with a time of 24:45.0 in the 8k race. Also looking for another shot at nationals is Justin Morgan. Justin, a junior from Thompson Falls, qualified for his first Nationals in 2022 finishing in 75th place. The Orediggers first meet is the Frontier Conference Preview in Great Falls at Eagle Falls Golf Course, Thursday September 7th. "We will learn a lot about ourselves, and the conference, in that first week. We know we are good, we know the season is long, so we will just work toward getting better week to week."
Carroll College (4) 24 Carroll College (4) 24
Montana Tech (2) 21 Montana Tech (2) 21
Rocky Mountain 16 Rocky Mountain 16
Montana Western 14 Montana Western 14
Providence 10 Providence 10
MSU-Northern 5 MSU-Northern 5