Senior John Hedengren was BYU's top finisher for the 12th-place Cougars at the NCAA Championships. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The BYU men's cross country team continues their quest toward becoming a national power with a 12th-place finish at today's NCAA Cross Country Championships.
The Cougars trip to Greenville marks the third straight trip for the men's team and the second straight year the team has improved upon the previous year's finish at nationals. Last year, the team finished 23rd at the national meet.
"The first thing you have to do to become a national power is get to nationals consistently," head coach Ed Eyestone said. "When you do that the runners start feeling like they belong at that race and begin to get comfortable and you can start developing a strong tradition. Success breeds success."
The Cougars were led once again by All-American John Hedengren, who finished the 10K race in 30:18 for 47th place. He was followed closely by teammate Lewis Jones, who crossed in 30:25 to place 53rd in a field of 244.
"The race started out pretty quick but I knew I just had to relax and keep passing people," Hedengren said. "Lewis and I ran together and we just worked our way up in the field as the race went on."
"I thought we had a good team effort and we had a consistent performance, which we have not had the past two years. We are building a tradition of excellence at BYU."
The men's team came into the NCAAs ranked 13th in the polls but made a climb and finished just four points behind 11th-place Michigan. The Cougars finished with 368 points for the meet.
The future appears to be looking up for a young BYU team, who will only lose Hedengren off this year's squad.
"This is a good point to build on for the team," Eyestone said. "We had a strong performance from each of the guys and I was pleased with the team."
NCAA Men's Championship Top Team Finishers
1. Colorado 90
2. Stanford 91
3. Arkansas 118
4. Northern Arizona 193
5. Wisconsin 245
12. Brigham Young 368
NCAA Men's Championship Top Ten Individual Finishers
1. Boaz Chboiywo Eastern Michigan 28:47
2. Jorge Torres Colorado 29:06
3. Alistair Cragg Arkansas 29:10
4. Dathan Ritzenheim Colorado 29:11
5. Luke Watson Notre Dame 29:19
6. Ryan Shay Notre Dame 29:23
7. Donald Sage Stanford 29:24
8. Matt Tegenkamp Wisconsin 29:26
9. Josh Spiker Wisconsin 29:29
10. Travis Laird Northern Arizona 29:31
47. John Hedengren 30:18
53. Lewis Jones 30:25
90. Andy Carman 30:53
113. Steve Barrus 31:08
152. Ammon Larsen 31:30
197. Mark Nevers 32:03
240. Tyler Bushnell 33:28