GOLDEN – After a three-week hiatus, the Colorado School of Mines cross country squads return to the course this Saturday as the Orediggers head to Colorado Springs for the 2012 RMAC Championships at Monument Valley Park.
Ranked second and 14th, respectively, in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division II Poll, the men and women are more than eager to reverse the championship reign held by Western State and Adams State and climb atop the podium for the first time.
On the women's side, the Mountaineers and Grizzlies have combined to win every RMAC Championship since the event's beginning in 1983, while the men's squads have claimed the title 44 of the 47 years.
Last year, Western State's men edged Adams State (28-to-31) for the crown, ending the Grizzlies' six-year reign, and four weeks later the teams went 1-2 again at the national championships in Spokane, Washington as WSCU claimed its eighth title since 1995.
The Orediggers finished solidly in third in the RMAC field with a team score of 89, and following a third place showing at regionals, went on to their seventh consecutive top-10 finish and third consecutive top-five finish at the national championships.
Western State's women's team also topped Adams State (27-to-31) in 2011 for the second straight time on the way to a runner-up finish at the national championships, while Metro State took third (77) and Mines was fourth (133).
The gold standard for Division II cross country since 1992, the RMAC has produced 16 of the last 20 men's national champions and captured 18 of the last 20 women's national championships with Adams State accounting for a total of 23 trophies.
Hosted by UC-Colorado Springs, the RMAC Championships get underway Monument Valley Park with the men's 8K race at 10 a.m., while the women's 6K competition is scheduled for a 10:45 a.m. start.
Footage of both races Saturday as well as interviews with coaches and top runners will be available at http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/249811-2012-RMAC-ChampionshipsColorado-USATF-Championships.