Two women’s cross-country runners achieve All-American honors

Devon Martinez  

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     Redshirt junior Layla Almasri and redshirt sophomore Riley McGrath both ended with All-American honors for UCCS Women’s Cross-Country at the NCAA Division II National Championship meet. They achieved the honors by finishing in the top 40 of all runners. 

     UCCS finished seventh out of 34 teams who competed in Saint Leo, Florida on Nov. 20, tying their highest finish ever at a NCAA national meet. As a team, UCCS scored 263 points.  

     Almasri led the team, finishing 12th overall with a time of 20:57.9 at the 6K. Her highest finish at a national championship. McGrath followed her in 39th place at 21:28.4.  

     Almasri and McGrath also became the fourth duo in program history to earn All-American honors — the first since 2006.  

     Three team members finished within five seconds of each other: Freshman Anna Fauske, redshirt Hannah Ellis and redshirt freshman Kate Hedlund. Fauske and Ellis also had their personal best times at the meet.  

     Fauske finished at 22:01.5 and placed 83rd overall. Ellis followed one second behind at 22:02.8 for 87th place. Four seconds behind her was Hedlund who finished at 22:06.3 and 91st overall.  

     The last two competitors for the Mountain Lions were redshirt freshmen Sarah Bassett and Kelsey Rycenga. Bassett ended in 153rd at 22:51.2, and Rycenga ended 183rd at 23:15.0.  

     This was Almasri’s second and Ellis’ third national championship, making them the only two Mountain Lions who had previously competed in national meets 

     As a team, UCCS has competed in 12 national championships.  

     The season is over for women’s cross country, and the team will return next fall.  

Riley McGrath and Layla Almasri. Photo by Ryan Cruz. Courtesy of