BYU heads to Albuquerque for MWC Championships

The cross country teams are ready to run at MWC Championships this Saturday in New Mexico. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- BYU men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the Mountain West Conference Championships Saturday, Nov. 1, 2003, in Albuquerque, N. M. Both teams come into the meet as defending champions and look to add another conference title to their record.

The No. 2 women's team heads to the championships after placing first in their race at Pre-Nationals two weeks ago. Together the team has virtually dominated every race this year. The team is anchored by four All-Americans, sophomores Kassi Anderson and Breanne Sandberg and juniors Michaela Mannova and Laura Turner.

Joining the All-Americans for this weekends race is freshman Amber Harper, redshirt freshman Suzanna Larsen, sophomore Lisa Antonelli and juniors Anika Busby and Rena Williams.

"We are looking forward to this weekends competition," women's head coach Patrick Shane said. "Although we won't be running in San Diego as we planned, it will be a good change to run in Albuquerque where we still will have good competition."

The women's team faces tough competition from No. 22 Colorado State have been trailing the Cougars in MWC rankings.

"It seems that every team has a couple top runners that we will have to beat," Shane said. "It will be a team effort, but I feel we can keep the domination alive and bring home our fifth consecutive conference crown."

Similarly, the No. 12 men's team looks to defend their four-time conference champion and add a fifth title to their collection. So far in the season the men have had a strong showing at top meets.

"I really think that we can win this again," men's head coach Ed Eyestone said. "We will have to face No. 10 Colorado State and Air Force, but we have a strong team who all do very well individually."

The Cougars boast junior Kip Kangogo who individually is undefeated this season and is returning as the 2002 conference champion.

"Kip should win it all," Eyestone said. "He has prevailed over every other opponent so far. However, to win as a team it will require a team effort with the race coming down the our fifth man."

Running for the Cougars this weekend will be freshman Rich Nelson, sophomore Chad Durham, juniors Matt Adams, Kip Kangogo, Lars Kjerengtroen, Josh McAdams, Bryan Lindsay, Nick McCombs and Nathan Robison.

"This is the strongest our conference has been in a long time," Eyestone said. "It should provide us with some interesting competition and a chance to race in a championship before Nationals at the end of November."

Due to bad air quality caused by wildfires in the San Diego area the meet was moved to the UNM North Golf Course in Albuqerque. The championships will begin wit the men's 8K race at 10 a.m. MST and the women's 6K race at 11 a.m. Results of the race can be found on Saturday at www.byucougars.com.