Not your grand-dad's ThunderWolves: Pack steals show at Rust Buster

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ( - Sept. 7, 2013) - Hey Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference:  Don't expect CSU-Pueblo to be a last place cross country team anymore.  At least if Saturday's performance at the UC-Colorado Springs Rust Buster is any indication.

The top collegiate finisher was a ThunderWolf, a first in the history of the meet, as the ThunderWolves turned in two of the top three collegiate finishers at the meet.

Led by Bailey Hughes (So., Bigfork, Mont.), a transfer who followed new Pack cross country coach Matt Morris from Carroll College in Montana, turned in the top collegiate time, setting a school record in the process.  Hughes turned in a time of 14:55, nearly a minute better than the previous school record in a 4K race, 15:53.  She finished second overall, but was the top finisher among all collegiate entrants.

Finishing third was another transfer from Carroll, sophomore Jordan Mathes (So., Meridian, Idaho), who also bested the previous school record with a time of 15:11.

The main measuring stick for this meet was the Pack's performance against UCCS, who is ranked third in the South Central Region and 10th in the nation. Though the meet was not scored for team points, the ThunderWolves would have been second, behind UCCS.  However, two of the meet's top three finishers were CSU-Pueblo runners, but on the flip side, five of the top seven entrants came from UCCS.  

Morris said the meet gave the ThunderWolves a good chance to evaluate the RMAC cross country scene with a young team of primarily transfers and freshmen.

"We didn't know the teams or the courses or what it was like to run at 6,000 feet," Morris said. "We didn't come in with a race plan.  We were just running and trying to gather information."

"I thought the kids ran well against some good competition today."

CSU-Pueblo will take two weeks off before its next meet, also in Colorado Springs, at the Colorado College Invitational.