(Photo by Savanna Sorensen/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – No. 12 BYU men’s cross country will be back in the Evergreen State on Friday to compete in the Washington Invitational at Jefferson Park in Seattle.
The Cougars will be stacked up against cerntainly their best competition of the year thus far. In addition to BYU, there are three other top-30 schools that will compete, No. 2 Stanford, No. 5 Oregon and No. 11 UCLA. Host Washington, who comes in just outside the national poll at No. 32, and six other schools round out the 11-team field.
BYU coach Ed Eyestone anticipates a much different type of race from the first two meets of the season. One of the main reasons is reigning back-to-back NCAA champion, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek, will be among the runners. Eyestone thinks he alone will speed things up for the whole field.
“We’re going to have to run a little differently in this one because we have a little better competition,” Eyestone said. “His (Cheserek’s) presence will be enough to stretch the field. He’s capable of being the fastest guy in the country on any given day. I imagine with him there that will add some pace to the race.”
The stiff competition, however, is not dimming Eyestone’s confidence in his team. He believes the Cougars could end up near the podium if they run well.
“I think we definitely have our hands full, but I’m optimistic and think we can go in and run a good team race and be in the top couple for sure,” Eyestone said.
BYU will have 11 runners in uniform this week. All nine runners from the WCC Preview will make the trip to Seattle, along with senior Dylan Shawhan and junior Jonathan Harper.
This week’s meet is significant because it is the first of the year where BYU can earn at-large points that count toward NCAA Championship qualifying. The top two teams in each of the nine regions across the country earn automatic bids, but the remaining 13 available spots are awarded to at-large teams based on point totals. The meet is also important because it is a good tuneup for the even better competition the Cougars will face at the Wisconsin Invitational in two weeks.
The men’s 8k race will begin Friday, Oct. 2, at 4:00 p.m. PDT.
Live stats will be available on the BYU men’s cross country schedule page.