UTRGV Women’s Cross Country Finishes Atop DI-AAA Standings

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Texas Border Business

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (DI-AAA ADA) announced on Wednesday that The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) women’s cross country team is among its Fall All-Sports winners for the 2019-20 academic year.

UTRGV opened the 2019 season ranked eighth in the South Central Region. UTRGV dropped to 12th in three of the following four weeks, but returned to the eighth in week 5.

Following a sixth-place finish at the WAC Championships, though, UTRGV dropped out of the rankings entering the NCAA South Central Regional. The top 15 teams get ranked. That means UTRGV was supposed to finish somewhere between 16th and 22nd.

UTRGV finished fourth to earn UTRGV Team Performance of the Year honors.

UTRGV had five runners finish in the top third, led by sophomore Dorcas Koech, who finished 12th out of 150 in the 6K with a time of 21:16.4, the sixth-best in program history. She finished one spot shy of an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Senior Sierra Spinler came in 29th with a personal record time of 22:08.6. Freshman Sharon Koima finished 33rd with a time of 22:13.3. Senior Bryana Rios placed 45th with a time of 22:27.1. Junior Alma Villanueva came in 46th with a time of 22:30.5.

Koech made multiple entries in the record book in both the 5K and 6K. Koech shattered the program record in the 5K with a time of 17:10.7, 23.3 seconds better than the previous record, set by 2019 Hall of Fame Inductee Elizabeth Ortega-Hilpert, at the 31st Annual Chile Pepper Festival. She then recorded the third-fastest 6K in program history at the Arturo Barrios Invitational. At the WAC Championships, Koech earned All-WAC Second Team honors.

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“Koech had a breakthrough year that springboard from her track season last year,” UTRGV head coach Darren Flowers said. “She was disappointed to miss the NCAA Championships by one spot, so I think that will keep her motivated to work hard over the upcoming seasons.”

Koima also entered the record book, posting the eighth fastest 5K time in program history at the Chile Pepper Festival with a time of 17:56.5.

“I’m really excited for this group. We have a lot of the athletes coming back next year,” Flowers said. “With the core group coming back and the group we have coming in it can be a successful future for the cross country program.”

The following institutions also finished atop the 2019-20 DI-AAA ADA Fall All-Sports Standings in their respective sports: men’s cross country – Portland; men’s soccer – UC Santa Barbara; women’s soccer – Xavier and Hofstra; women’s volleyball – Marquette, UC Santa Barbara and Creighton.

About the Division I-AAA ADA

Now in its 19th year, the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association’s mission is to enhance initiatives common to its Division I-AAA membership (the Division I institutions that do not sponsor football), in particular, aspects related to their flagship basketball programs. For more information on the Division I-AAA ADA, please visit www.div1aaa-ada.com. The Division I-AAA ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 55th year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.

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