Aug 4, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorOff and running.
The Central Wyoming College Rustlers cross country men's and women's team held their first practice in school history Friday afternoon.
Al Lara was named the inaugural coach in April.
CWC also added a golf program to its lineup of sports. The golfers will start on Monday. Coach Pat Rafferty is the men's and women's coach.
"It has gone by fast," Lara said of the pre-season recruiting effort. "I still could run into some more and have some walk-ons."
CWC assistant dean for student services/athletic director Steve Barlow said Lara has been eager to get going.
'We are all excited to start the program," Barlow said.
"We have some really good runners, and the possibility that a few of them could go to nationals if they perform the way they did before," Lara said.
The men's lineup includes Dalton Perkins (Wind River), Wilson Clifford (Wyoming Indian), Matt Amos (Riverton), Tristan Mitchell (Newcastle) Dylan Lookingbill (Wind River), Hugh Henry (Mountain View) and Christian Salzma (Riverton).
Clifford is a two-time Class 2-A state champion for the Wyoming Indian High School Chiefs. He helped WIHS win four straight team titles.
Henry was a top runner in the 3,200 meters for Mountain View in the Class 3-A division.
Lookingbill emerged as a top hurdler for Wind River in 2-A.
"Henry strikes me as somebody that can perform better in the five mile," Lara said.
Former Riverton High School standout runner C'Bearing is the lone women's runner so far.
"Jillian can run," Lara said.
Lara gave his runners workouts to do in the summer.
"If they followed the workouts, then I should have some runners show up in decent shape," Lara said. "If they didn't, then they have to do some catchup."
CWC holds practice from 3-5 p.m.
"A few of those guys won't make it because of work," Lara said. "I trust that they are going to be doing their workouts."
The season begins on Aug. 23 at the Gillette College Invitational.
"I like the schedule," Lara said. "It's going to be a fun schedule because we get to go to some different places for the kids to compete," Barlow said.
Gillette and CWC are the only Wyoming teams with junior college programs.
The two make up the entire Region IX division.
CWC officials are working on putting together a home meet this fall.
"Other schools had some other things going on. Especially with a late start, it has been tough to get somebody here," Barlow said. "We are hopeful that we will have something together in the fall."
After the season opener, CWC competes at Chadron State College on Sept. 13. The Rustlers head to the Montana State Billings Invitational Oct. 3.
The Rustlers compete at Gillette College on Oct. 27 for the regional championship.
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