The women of Nevada cross country line up to begin The Bonanza Casino Nevada Twilight Classic. All of Nevada's runners are wearing pink and blue jerseys/running shorts. Nine runners in total are pictured.
Image courtesy of Nevada Athletics. The men and women of Nevada cross country competed in The Bonanza Casino Nevada Twilight Classic on Aug. 30. The women’s cross country team took home a first place finish, scoring 22 points at the meet.

The men and women of Nevada cross country opened their season on Aug. 30 at The Bonanza Casino Nevada Twilight Classic, both teams were victorious at the event. 

The men and women run two different course lengths for their respective runs. The men race on an 8K course, while the women run a 6K.

Men’s cross country

The men’s team was the first collegiate team to run on the night. Prior to the run, races were held for local middle and high schoolers. 

Nevada’s men recorded a total score of 25 points, earning them the top overall spot in the men’s division. Following them was Sacramento State, who scored 31 points. Sierra Nevada College also competed in the event but did not score any points.

Leading runner for the men was freshman Jared Marchegger. The freshman from Carson City posted a time of 24:39, placing him at third overall for the event. In total, Nevada had six runners finish in the top 10, with all six finishing in under 26 minutes.

Following the race, head coach Kirk Elias commented on the men’s performance. 

“It’s absolutely pleasant to see a young team win against some veteran athletes,” said Elias. “We made some mistakes in the race, but it was a really tough effort and we did it through our depth,” 

It was the first time Nevada men’s cross country has competed in a race in over 25 years. The team was previously dissolved in the nineties but was brought back after Nevada rifle was disbanded last Dec.

Women’s cross country

Coming off the heels of the men’s victory, Nevada women’s cross country also captured a first-place finish.

Top finisher for the Nevada women’s team was Morgin Coonfield, a senior runner from McKinleyville, Calif. She posted a time of 21:31, placing her as the top collegiate runner. Finishing in third place was Reno native, sophomore Mikayla Shults, who finished with a time of 21:46.

As a team, Nevada has six women place within the top 10. It was this strong effort, that led the women to score 22 points. Sacramento State finished behind Nevada with 37 points, followed by Sierra Nevada College, who did not score during the event. 

Alumni from both the men’s and women’s teams came out to support the runners during and prior to the race. The alumni ranged from members of the original teams to the last men’s team.

“I think a lot of these guys thought they’d never see a Nevada men’s team in uniform again,” said Elias.

An interim hall of fame was created just for the event showing images and achievements from various past Nevada teams. 

This will be the only time either team competes in Reno for the rest of the season, as the rest of their meets are on the road. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams will now have to wait till Sept. 28 to race against competition again. This is when they travel to Springfield, Ore. to compete in the Dellinger Invitational against the University of Oregon.