“We're very excited that Governor Hickenlooper will help us celebrate our cross country national championship,” said Western Athletic Director Greg Waggoner. “We're looking forward to welcoming the Governor next Friday night.”
The Mountaineer men's cross country team won their ninth national championship this fall with the fifth-lowest team score in Division II championship history. Ryan Haebe led Western as the first individual men's cross country national champion since 2001 as the Mountaineers placed all five scoring runners in the top 13 of the overall results. Tyler Pennel finished as the national runner-up, David Goodman placed fifth, Gabe Proctor in seventh and Trevor Blackman at No. 13. Adam Sinda also earned All-America honors as a displacer.
Head Coach Jennifer Michel earned USTFCCCA National Men's Coach of the Year honors for the second time in her career. She's the only woman in NCAA history to earn the national coach of the year in a men's sport. Haebe was the Division II runner of the year and the USA Track and Field National Runner of the Week after the championships.
Hickenlooper will take part in halftime activities along with the national championship team and WSC President Jay Helman. It will be the first visit to campus by a sitting governor since Hickenlooper's predecessor, Bill Ritter, delivered the spring commencement address in 2009.
The Mountaineers also will recognize the national runner-up women's cross country team during the women's halftime. Western finished with five All-Americans, led by third-place runner Lauren Kleppin, to lead the RMAC at the national championships.
Western basketball will take on Colorado Mesa next Friday night in the halfway point of the conference schedule. The women, who are fourth in the RMAC standings, tip off at 6 p.m., with the men to follow at approximately 8 p.m.