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Nelson Tabbed Big 12 Newcomer

Nov 5, 2002

Boulder - Colorado head men's and women's cross country coach Mark Wetmore has been named the men's and women's Big 12 Cross Country Coach of the Year and freshman Billy Nelson tabbed Newcomer of the Year the league office announced Wednesday.

The awards follow Colorado's fourth-straight sweep of the fall championships Saturday in Columbia, Mo. The CU men placed four runners among the top five, including Nelson's fifth-place finish, while the Buff women ran 1-2-3 to take the team title from host Missouri.

This is the 11th time that Wetmore has been recognized by his conference colleagues as he as taken the men's honor since 1997 and has taken the women's title all but one year in that span.

Nelson was the top finishing freshman in the men's race covering the 8k A.J. Gustin Golf Course in 24:01, just one second behind senior teammate and All-American Steve Slattery. It is the second straight year that the Buffs have claimed Newcomer of the Year honors on the men's side, and third since 1999.

In addition to the elected postseason awards, the top nine finishers in each race have earned All-Big 12 recognition. Colorado runners coming away with All-Big 12 honors include Jorge Torres, Ed Torres, Steve Slattery and Billy Nelson on the men's side and Molly Austin, Sara Gorton and Natalie Florence on the women's.

Both conference rosters of nine will be shaved to seven over the next two weeks before the Buffs continue their postseason schedule at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships, Nov. 16 in Albuquerque and the NCAA Championships, Nov. 25 in Terre Haute, Ind.