Women's Cross Country Preview

Cougars selected to compete at national championship

(Photo by Richie Connolly)

PROVO, Utah – The No. 24 BYU women’s cross country team returns to the national stage this Saturday for the Division I NCAA Cross Country Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Qualifying for nationals was a major team goal this season,” said BYU head coach Patrick Shane. “We’re excited to go and compete at the national level. I’ve said all along this is a great cross country team. They’ve earned this.”

The Cougars earned an at-large bid to the championships after one of the best seasons the team has had in a decade, culminating in a fourth place finish at last week’s NCAA Mountain Region Championships. With No. 1 New Mexico and No. 2 Colorado, the Mountain Region is the toughest in the country. No. 21 Utah and No. 25 Weber State will also be competing at nationals.

“Region was fun,” Natalie Shields-Connolly said. “We did a lot better than we did at our conference meet, but there's more we can do, and we're going to do it at nationals. We’re ready.”

Shields-Connolly has consistently earned a place as BYU’s front-runner this year, with Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd and Yesenia Silva making up a very tight pack for BYU’s top four—one of the tightest knit groups in the NCAA. Alice Jensen, Ashleigh Warner and Alyssa Steed will also run in Kentucky.

Jube qualified to compete at nationals as an individual last year and Shields-Connolly ran as part of the 2013 Cougars during her sophomore season. For the rest of the team, it will be their first trip to the NCAA championships.

The women’s race will begin at noon EST.

For live results, visit the BYU women’s cross country schedule page.

A complete list of qualifying teams is listed below:

Women’s Automatic Qualifying Teams

Women’s At-large Teams

No. 1 New Mexico

No. 2 Colorado

No. 3 Arkansas

No. 4 Providence

No. 5 Oregon

No. 6 Michigan

No. 7 Virginia

No. 8 Boise State

No. 9 North Carolina State

No. 9 Penn State

No. 11 Oklahoma State

No. 14 Georgetown

No. 15 Notre Dame

No. 16 Iowa State

No. 18 Syracuse

No. 19 Vanderbilt

No. 20 Mississippi State

UR Texas

No. 12 Washington

No. 13 Stanford

No. 17 Michigan State

No. 21 Utah

No. 22 Princeton

No. 23 Minnesota

No. 24 Brigham Young

No. 25 Villanova

No. 25 Weber State

No. 27 Gonzaga

No. 27 Tulsa

No. 29 San Francisco

UR Kansas