Led by Lewis, Pack opens season strong

Led by Lewis, Pack opens season strong

Sophomore bests '09 Rust Buster mark by 47 seconds.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Sept. 11, 2010) - The ThunderWolves turned in a strong outing in their first cross country meet of the season Saturday as sophomore Hayley Lewis (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished 12th in an open meet at the UCCS Rust Buster.

Lewis' time of 16:05 was 47 seconds better than the mark she turned at the UCCS Rust Buster as a freshman in 2009, and she climbed 21 places higher than her 2009 showing.

No team scores were kept at the meet, but according to CSU-Pueblo head cross country coach, Chad Perry, the ThunderWolves would have finished fifth.

Overall, he said, the level of improvement from last season is drastic, the Pack is already showing it's in midseason form.

"As a team, our time was more than four minutes faster than [the team's time at the UCCS Rust Buster in 2009], and that is a huge difference," Perry said.  "As a group, we ran well and Hayley was awesome.  It was a great way to start the year."

Two ThunderWolves newcomers, Ali Wolpern (Fr., Montgomery, Minn.) and Kelsi Boucher (Fr., Buena Vista, Colo.) finished in 33rd and 34th place, respectively.  Wolpern, expected to battle Lewis for the mantel of the team's top runner, got introduced to the mile-high air of Colorado for the first time, and found it starkly different than the flat lands of her native Minnesota.  Perry said she is adjusting well to the altitude, however.

Also running well was Marissa Garcia (RFr., Littleton, Colo.), a 400-meter runner by trade who ran her first cross country race Saturday, finishing 37th.  Perry expects big things out of her as she improves.

"She will be a really good runner for us," he said, "but it does take a while to adjust from a middle distance runner to a cross country runner.  I'm confident she has what it takes to be very strong."

With the season's first meet under their belts, the Pack will go right back to Colorado Springs next Saturday, this time at the Colorado College Invitational.