Cougars Hope to Defend MWC Titles

The BYU men's team hopes to win another MWC title.

PROVO -- Both the men's (No. 21) and women's (No. 11) cross country teams will race to defend their Mountain West Conference titles this Saturday in Salt Lake City.

"I want us to defend as conference champions," said men's head coach Ed Eyestone.

"I like our chances," said women's head coach Patrick Shane. "We have a great team. We're even better than we were last year."

After sitting out of the Pre-National White Race in Terre Haute, Ind. due to injury, senior Josh Rohatinsky is healthy and ready to return to competition. At last year's race he recorded the second fastest clocking in MWC Championship history with a time of 24:12.9.

"Josh is doing well," said Eyestone. "He had a great workout yesterday and he's back to 100 percent."

Rohatinsky will have to lead his team against several worthy conference opponents, including Wyoming's Mark Korir, a native of Kenya.

The Cougars have captured the title in eight of the last nine seasons. Eyestone has high hopes and confidence that the team has what it takes to do it again.

"Ideally it would be great to have four of our guys in the top seven All-Conference," said Eyestone. "I want everyone to run at the best of their ability. If they do that things will work out well for us."

The BYU women will have to do their best against a good Colorado State team that took first place at the BYU Autumn Classic earlier in the season. For the first time in school history CSU has the potential to win the conference title and knock off BYU.

"We will be tested by a very good CSU team," said Shane. "At the Autumn Classic we didn't run all of our top girls, but neither did they. We didn't get a chance to fairly compare our two teams."

The team will be led by four girls, including two-time All-Americans Kassi Andersen and Breanne Sandberg, and sophomores Amy Fowler and Amber Duffin.

"Kassi Andersen should do very well," said Shane. "She is probably the best individual runner we've ever had."

The depth Shane has been hoping would appear all season has finally surfaced. The five other runners making the trip all have an equal chance at landing the fifth spot to be counted towards the team score.

The MWC Championship will be held at Rose Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 28. The women's race will begin at 10 a.m. with the men's following at 11 a.m.