Western to add cross country in 2015

DILLON — The University of Montana Western Athletics Department announced it will add Frontier Conference and National Intercollegiate Athletics Association (NAIA) competitive cross country teams starting in fall 2015.

Janelle Handlos, UMW interim athletic director, said the Bulldogs will begin the process by hiring a head coach. The coach will begin recruiting cross country student-athletes for both men’s and women’s rosters during the 2014-15 academic year for competition in the 2015 Frontier Conference season. Handlos expects roster sizes to be between 10 and 15 athletes.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to add cross country to our sports offerings,” Handlos said. “We looked at the experiences of many other Frontier Conference programs that added sports as well as the interest of our student body and high school athletes throughout Montana and our region. Cross country quickly rose to the top of the list, and we look forward to the opportunities it will provide to add to our coaching staff and the population of student-athletes at Montana Western.”

Montana Western Chancellor Richard Storey said the decision, which has been thoroughly analyzed and discussed on campus for well over a year, will continue to bolster Bulldog athletics as well as campus enrollment.

“Adding cross country not only brings us into compliance with the NAIA, but it also helps us to attract additional dedicated students to Montana Western,” Storey said. “Adding cross country also has the benefit of bringing both female and male student-athletes to our campus. Cross country athletes have a well-earned reputation for academic excellence.”

— UM Western Sports Information