(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – Head coach Ed Eyestone and the No. 15 BYU men’s cross country team look for a fourth-straight top-10 finish as they prepare for Saturday’s NCAA National Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.
“Our last couple meets have given us confidence that we can still meet our goal of being a top-10 team nationally this year,” Eyestone said. “With the quick turnaround, this week is all about recovery. We need to make sure we’re ready to go full tilt on Saturday.”
The selection to nationals marks 16 consecutive trips for the Cougars—good for the fourth-longest streak among NCAA teams. During Eyestone’s 15-year tenure, BYU has placed in the top 10 five times. The team’s best overall finish under Eyestone is fourth, achieved by the Cougars in 2011 and 2013.
In a year that Eyestone has described on several occasions as a “rebuilding year,” BYU managed to reach nationals based on at-large points earned throughout the season. The Cougars finished second at the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational and the WCC Championships, and claimed third place at the Mountain Region Championships last weekend. BYU won two local meets to begin the season.
Junior Jonathan Nelson has been a steady top runner for the Cougars, finishing as BYU’s top runner in four out of six meets this season. Senior Conner Peloquin has finished in BYU’s top five in every meet this season, including two second-place finishes. Senior Steve Flint spent the first half of the season recovering from injury and has a first-place and second-place finish for the Cougars in just three races.
WCC Freshman of the Year Connor McMillan returns after sitting out last week to prepare for nationals. McMillan has finished as BYU’s third runner three times this year. Senior Spencer Gardner, who won a race for the Cougars back in September, has missed the team’s last three meets with an injury, but could be available for Saturday, according to Eyestone.
The NCAA Cross Country National Championship men’s 10k race will begin at 1 p.m. EST at LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute. The event can be streamed live at NCAA.com.