(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The 2004 men's cross country season turned out to be one of the greatest season's in BYU history. Led by a powerful and determined group of runners, the men finished the season as the No. 5 ranked team in the country.
Their finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. turned out to be their best finish since 1993, when the Cougars finished second in the nation.
"I'm ecstatic for the guys," men's coach Ed Eyestone said. "We came one place short of where we wanted to be, but I'm very proud of the guys. Anytime you finish in the top five, it's a great accomplishment."
Led all year by sophomore sensation Josh Rohatinsky, the Cougars were able to capture their fifth Mountain West Conference Championship in the last six years. Four Cougars received All-MWC honors: First-Team honors went to Rohatinsky, Brian Lindsay and Dustin Bybee; as Nathan Robison earned Second-Team All-MWC honors. The conference officials and coaches named Coach Eyestone as the 2004 MWC Men's Coach of the Year.
Ranked early in the season as the No. 9 team in the country, the men were determined to make this year one of the best seasons in school history. With last year's disappointing finish at the MWC Championships, finishing 19th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, the men prepared to make this year a year to remember.
2004 BYU Alumni Invitational - Provo, Utah - September 3
The No. 9 ranked Cougars clinched the top eight spots finishing the race with a perfect score of 15 points. Josh Rohatinsky, Brian Lindsay, Matt Adams, Chandler Goodwin and Chad Durham finished in the top five, respectively.
"The way the pack distributed itself is fairly indicative of where we are at right now," said men's coach Ed Eyestone. "Josh is definitely our top guy and that's good. It's good to have somebody like him up front."
2004 BYU Autumn Classic - Provo, Utah - September 11
Finishing at top of the leader board, Josh Rohatinsky won the Autumn Classic with a time of 19:31.9. Brian Lindsay (20:01.3) finished third, with Matt Adams (20:24.0), Chandler Goodwin (20:29.0) and Dustin Bybee (20:43.6) finishing sixth, seventh and 11th in the race; as the men won the Classic with a team score of 28 points.
"This upcoming weekend is going to be our first true race," men's coach Ed Eyestone said. "I think you'll see a very strong performance from us this weekend and that's exciting. If we can have a pack of five guys within about 30 seconds of each other with our top guy being way up there then we're going to be good."
2004 Notre Dame Invitational - South Bend, Indi. - October 1
The No. 9 ranked men finished fifth in the race behind No. 11 Air Force (fourth), No. 24 Butler (third), No. 29 Notre Dame (second) and No. 2 ranked Stanford (first). Josh Rohatinsky won his third consecutive race as he cruised his way to a first place finish, with a time of 23:40. The Provo, Utah native earned himself MWC Athlete of the Week honors for the first time during the season for his efforts in South Bend, IN. Brian Lindsay (23:48), Chandler Goodwin (24:26), Chad Durham (24:35) and Nick McCombs (24:35) rounded out the scoring as the men finished with a score of 126 points.
"I'm excited with how the race went today," said Eyestone. "This is good for us, because it keeps us hungry and determined to get better each week."
2004 NCAA Pre-Nationals - Terra Haute, Indi. - October 16
The field saw a talented group of teams, many of which, were ranked in the top 10 and 25 in the country, with the likes of No. 1 Stanford, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Duke toping out the top five teams in the nation. The No. 14 ranked Cougars saw an opportunity to prove to themselves and the country they are a top five team, as they ran to a fourth place finish. Josh Rohatinsky led the charge finishing seventh overall, with a time of 24:06.6. Bryan Lindsay finished 19th overall, with a time of 24:21.3. Chad Durham (24:34.0), Nathan Robison (24:58.3) and Chandler Goodwin (25:07.7) rounded out the rest of the scoring. This was Robison's first race of the year since his All-American finish at the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
"We're getting in a great position to finish up as championship racing begins," Eyestone said.
2004 MWC Cross Country Championships - San Diego, Calif. - October 30
With a few weeks rest the Cougars looked to regain the conference championship away from the Air Force Academy. The No. 10 ranked Cougars ran away with the title as Josh Rohatinsky, Bryan Lindsay, Dustin Bybee and Nathan Robison finished in the top 10. Rohatinsky (25:03), Lindsay (25:16) and Bybee (25:22) received first-team All-MWC honors and Robison earned Second-Team All-MWC honors for their performances during the race. Coach Eyestone was honored as the Men's Coach of the Year. With the conference title win, it was the Cougars fifth title in six years.
2004 NCAA Mt. Region XC Championships - Ft. Collins, Colo. - November 13
In the men's first 10K race of the year, the No. 9 ranked Cougars looked to claim a spot at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. With a runner-up finish to No. 4 ranked University of Colorado (40) the Cougars (62) clinched a spot at the NCAA Championships. Once again Josh Rohatinsky led the charge for the men as he finished fourth (29:52.7). Bryan Lindsay was two spots behind him finishing sixth (30:07.1) overall. Nathan Robison (30:18.3) finished 14th overall, as teammates Dustin Bybee (30:39.8) and Chad Durham (30:42.5) finished 21st and 25th overall. All five runners for the men earned NCAA Mt. Region honors.
"I'm proud of the guys," men's coach Ed Eyestone said. "We have some room to improve, but the guys are feeling good about the race. This is the first time, since I've been at BYU, that we've had five runners make the NCAA Mt. Region team."
2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships - Terre Haute, Indi. - November 22
The day had arrived; the weather was warm and the course was wet and muddy. Despite cold and rainy weather for several days prior to the race, the sun came out and shined on the 10K course in Indiana. The No. 9 ranked Cougars attacked and challenged the field finishing in the top five for the first time since 1993, when the Cougars finished second in the nation. Josh Rohatinsky placed 22nd overall, with a time of 31:45 as teammates Bryan Lindsay (32:05), Chandler Goodwin (32:09), Dustin Bybee (32:41) and Chad Durham (32:43) rounded out the scoring for the Cougars. Rohatinsky earned All-American honors for his performance during the championships as he became the third All-American.
"We set very high goals at the beginning of the season," Eyestone said. "It just goes to show, when you set your goals and you work hard enough to reach them anything can happen. I'm very proud of the guys."