(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah—The No. 4 BYU men’s cross country and No. 28 women’s cross country teams win bids to Terre Houte, Indiana to compete in the 2016 Division I NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 19.
After the men’s third place finish at the 2016 Mountain Region Championships, the men took the first at-large bid for nationals.
“It’s going to be tough—toughest race of the year with the strongest competition and the most teams we’ve face in one swoop,” BYU cross country men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said. “If the guys can run and execute as they have all year, then we will be in a good position. We will be going against the best in the nation and there are about seven teams rivaling that will be strong contenders going for the top spots at the race.”
Some of the teams the men will be facing include No. 1 Northern Arizona University, No. 2 Colorado, No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 Syracuse, No. 6 Arkansas and No. 7 Iona.
Coach Eyestone says the strategy for this race will be to have senior Nicolas Montanez finish strong in the top 20 and the rest of the pack finish close behind in the top 30 or 40.
Sophomore Rory Linkletter will be returning this week to race with the team. Along with Linkletter and Montanez, junior Spencer Hanson, sophomore Clayton Young, freshman Brayden McClelland and senior Mitchell Briggs will also be traveling to Indiana.
After finishing in fifth place overall at the Regional Championships, the women’s team received the No. 8 at-large bid to nationals.
Women’s head coach, Diljeet Taylor, is looking forward to focusing on their race this week and plans on the girls executing the improved race strategy. They hope to finish in the top 20 of the competition, and after last week's performance, coach Taylor said the girls are fired up to race with a little bit of a vengeance.
The women competing in the race this weekend include senior Yesenia Silva, sophomore Erica Birk-Jarvis, junior Laura Young, freshman Olivia Hoj, freshman Courtney Wayment, junior Ashleigh Warner and sophomore Alice Jensen will take Emma Gee’s spot on the competing team.
The women will be facing the toughest competition yet this season. Some of the teams at nationals will be No. 1 Colorado, No. NC State, No. 3 Providence, No. 4 Stanford and No. 5 Michigan.
Coach Taylor said their strategy this week will be to go out with the pack for a little bit, be more conservative and relaxed in the first 2-kilometers of the race and then pick it by the end of the 5k.
“Finishing strong is what we're focusing on and not getting too excited," Taylor said. "I’m going to keep them calm but still motivated. You prepare your athlete and you go in with the mindset that its just another race, yes it's a big one, but you have got to keep things in perspective and not lose sigh of the hard work we’ve put in. We have to put our best foot forward and hopefully things come together."
A full list of qualifiers for both men's and women's can be viewed at ncaa.com. The Women's Championship begins at 9:00 a.m. MDT.
For live results, click here.
For live streaming of the competition (for Flotrack members), click here.
For more resources and information, visit the NCAA XC website.