(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Optimism abounds within the BYU women’s cross country program as it looks to build off a strong offseason and show well at the BYU Autumn Classic this Saturday.
“Andrea Harrison has been on fire and has stepped up from a year ago,” women’s head coach Patrick Shane said. “Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd and Makenna Smith have also become great runners.”
Last week BYU opened its season placing fourth at the Utah Open meet in Murray Park. That meet featured some of the program’s youngest athletes including five freshmen. The Autumn Classic will showcase 12 of BYU’s top athletes in uniform. Shane has high expectations for his top returning runners including junior Jennica Redd.
“I’m just excited and hoping to improve from last year,” Redd said. “As a team we want to run well and stay with all the top runners.”
The Cougars are motivated to perform well in what will be the season opener for most runners and BYU’s only home meet of the year.
“You need to approach it like it is just another race but it’s definitely special because friends and family will be there,” Redd said.
The other teams set to compete include UCLA, Minnesota, Weber State and Idaho State. Minnesota entered the season ranked No. 25 in the USTFCCCA preseason poll and will likely be the biggest challenge to the Cougars.
“We will not hold back this weekend.” Shane said. “We have some great competition so we’re excited.”
Runners making their season debut will be Harrison, Jube, Redd, Smith, Kelsey Brown, Erika Reddish-Nash and Kristi Rush.
"Our team’s been running well this week,” Redd said. “If we all run together I believe we can win.”
The women’s 5k race begins at 10:15 am at the Clarence F. Robison Track and Field complex.