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NEW ORLEANS — U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has named University of New Mexico women’s cross country athlete Sammy Silva as the NCAA Division I Mountain Region Women's Athlete of the Year.

Silva, a junior from La Mesa, Calif., won in the individual race at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships this past Friday, completing the six-kilometer course at Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course in Riverside, Utah, in 20 minutes, 29.3 seconds.

Silva finished two seconds faster than runner-up Shalaya Kipp of Colorado, a 2012 Olympian in the steeplechase. She is the first UNM harrier to win a women’s region race since Lisa Mitchell did it in 1981.

Silva also finished runner-up at the Mountain West Championships and third at the Notre Dame Invitational.

The award, as voted on by the Division I coaches, is the first received by any Lobo athlete in program history. New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin has been named Mountain Region Men’s Coach of the Year once (2010) and twice as the Mountain Region Women’s Coach of the Year (2010-11).

Silva also earned All-Region honors for her performance, along with teammates Charlotte Arter, Calli Thackery and Tamara Armoush. Luke Caldwell, Adam Bitchell, Patrick Zacharias, Sean Stam and Elmar Engholm earned All-Region honors on the men’s side.

The NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships will be contested Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., hosted by Indiana State on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.


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