Men's Cross Country Preview

2015 NCAA Championships preview

(Photo by West Coast Conference)

PROVO, Utah – No. 6 BYU men’s cross country is preparing to run at the NCAA Championships this Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky in the final leg of a very successful season that saw the Cougars reach their highest national ranking since 2012.

“We’re excited about the national meet. This marks the 17th year in a row we’ve qualified our men’s team, and I think they’re ready to roll,” BYU coach Ed Eyestone said. “They have a quiet confidence and determination about them, and hopefully we’ll go there and run to the best of our ability.”

BYU qualified for the national meet by receiving an at-large bid from the NCAA after taking third at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships last Friday. The Cougars currently hold the third longest active streak for NCAA Championships team appearances at 17. They trail only two-time defending national champion Colorado (24 years) and No. 3 Stanford (22 years).

“You can’t control how other teams perform. You can’t really do anything to slow them down; you just have to run as fast as you can,” Eyestone said. “Colorado and Syracuse have some very good talent, potentially four or five All-Americans. If they do their thing then I think we’ll have our work cut out for us. However, I think we can put together a nice race where we get a couple of All-Americans as well. The bottom line is if we can score under 200 points then we will end up on the podium, but if we score over 200 points probably not.”

The Cougars are hoping to have some strong runners back in the lineup on Saturday to bolster their team depth.

“We have some people we held out (at regionals). Nicolas Montanez intentionally sat out last week so he would be fresh, and he looks good and I think he’ll have a nice race. Dallin Taylor was pulled out of last week’s race because he stepped on a rock and bruised his heel. He’s looked better with each passing day, so we hope to put him back in the rotation. I think we’re a stronger team with him provided he can run at 100 percent. We’ll make a judgment call on him on race day. Jonathan Harper didn’t run last week either because he was sick, but he is getting healthier so we hope to use him as well.”

BYU projects to have Aaron Fletcher, Dallin Farnsworth, Connor McMillan, Dylan Shawhan, Montanez, Taylor and Harper as the seven runners in uniform on Saturday. Mitchell Briggs also travelled with the team as an alternate.

The men’s 10k race is hosted by the University of Louisville and will begin at 1 p.m. EST. The race will be held at the E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park.

The national meet will be broadcast online at Live stats will also be available. Links to both can be found on the BYU men’s cross country schedule page.

The 31 competing teams are listed below:

Men's Automatic Qualifying Teams Men's At-Large Teams
No. 1 Colorado No. 6 BYU
No. 2 Syracuse No. 9 Oregon
No. 3 Stanford No. 15 Furman
No. 4 Oklahoma State No. 17 North Carolina State
No. 5 Michigan No. 18 Eastern Kentucky
No. 7 UTEP No. 20 Tulsa
No. 8 Arkansas No. 22 Virginia Tech
No. 10 Iona No. 23 Oklahoma
No. 11 Washington No. 24 Southern Utah
No. 12 Virginia No. 25 Washington State
No. 13 Georgetown No. 26 Boise State
No. 14 Louisville No. 27 California
No. 16 Minnesota No. 28 UCLA
No. 19 Michigan State
No. 21 Penn
No. 30 Florida State
UR Ole Miss
UR Texas