Autumn Classic Starts Season

Dustin Bybee, 2006 first-team All-MWC runner, will return this season as a leader for the reigning MWC Champions. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Minnesota and Baylor highlight BYU's only home meet, the 2007 BYU Autumn Classic Cross Country Invitational at East Bay Golf Course on Saturday, Sep. 8.

BYU, ranked No.1 in the Mountain West Conference in both men's and women's, will compete against Minnesota (men), San Bernardino Junior College (men), Baylor (women), Utah Valley State College and Dixie State College.

"We've been a top-10 team nationally for the past seven years and this meet will be a great opportunity to showcase that talent locally," said BYU men's coach Ed Eyestone.

The women's 5k race begins at 10 a.m. and the men's four-mile race starts at 10:50 a.m.

At the 2006 National Championships, BYU's men finished in the No. 11 spot and the women finished No. 22. Both teams lost key runners in Josh Rohatinsky and Kassi Andersen, but the depth on both squads from last year will look to pull through again in 2007.

"Losing Josh Rohatinsky puts a dent in the program, but I think we can do even better as a team nationally this year," Eyestone said.

Chandler Goodwin, a 2006 first-team All-Mountain West Conference recipient and third-place finisher in last year's Autumn Classic, will be returning for the Cougars. In addition, the men will be returning two more 2006 first-team All-MWC runners in Dustin Bybee and Kyle Perry.

The Cougars will also look to Stephan Shay for some depth. Shay, a transfer from Michigan State, finished second in the 1500m at the Spartan Invitational with a time of 3:54.60.

"Stephan is going to be a real bonus for us," Eyestone said. "When you combine him with the returning talent it makes for a good nucleus of runners."

In last year's Autumn Classic the men took first place with the women finishing in second.

Amy Fowler Layne, who earned first-team All-MWC honors in 2006 and competed at the NCAA National Championships, will be returning for the women's team.

Another key returning Cougar is Amber Duffin. She earned first-team All-MWC honors and participated at the NCAA National Championships. Duffin placed third at the Great American Invitational in Alabama, and was recognized as the MWC Athlete of the Week (in September) for her performance there.

Angela Wagner, a sophomore from South Africa, will be joining the cross country team after a successful freshman track season at BYU. Wagner has extensive running experience. She ran cross country for the South African junior team, competing internationally. This year, Wagner hopes to make the South African Olympic Team in steeplechase.

Admission to the Autumn Classic is $3 for adults, $2 for students with ID and children age five and under are admitted for free. Any youth age 14 or under who wear their track or cross country uniform is admitted for free.