Cougars Look For Top Finish At Nationals

PROVO -- In a search to add to its list of accomplishments for the 2010 season, the No. 15 BYU men’s cross country team is heading to the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana on Monday.

“We feel pretty good being ranked No. 15, but the guys know we are better than that,” men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said. “The team has a bit of a chip on its shoulder.”

The men’s team is participating in its 12th consecutive NCAA Championship race. Eyestone, a former collegiate cross country champion and 10-time All-American will look to lead the Cougars to another strong performance despite the team not being the favorite to compete for the top spots.

“When expectations are not as high we can go in loose and try to knock it out of the park,” Eyestone said. “We need everyone to reach down and pull out a season best performance.”

Junior Miles Batty has been a valuable leader and a top performer for BYU all year. He has the fastest 8K time in the Mountain West Conference with 23:52.5. After winning the MWC Championship in October, last week at the Mountain Regional, Batty finished second overall with a 10K time of 29:30.1.

Along with Batty, three other Cougars earned All-Region honors, including sophomore Travis Fuller, freshman Jared Ward and senior Nathan Ogden. Each member of the team will look to finish in the top 40 to earn All-American honors for the race.

“There has been a different guy each week stepping up for us,” Eyestone said. “It shows how equally strong our guys are.”

BYU finished 2nd in 1993, its highest finish ever, and has finished in the top 10 five times. In 2009, the Cougars finished 17th.

Junior Kate Bowen will be the representative for the BYU women’s team at the national meet after finishing in the top 15 in the Mountain Region. Bowen will compete against 237 other runners in hopes of finishing in the top-40 and earning All-America honors.

“Kate (Bowen’s) workouts have been going really well this week,” BYU women’s head coach Patrick Shane said. “We feel like she can finish in the top-40 if she can run her best race, and any finish in the top-60 places is remarkable with this many competitors.”

Bowen has been the lead runner for the women for the entire 2010 season. She finished 12th overall in the Mountain Region and fifth at the MWC Championships.

This will be the second NCAA Championships race for Bowen after she finished 80th as a freshman in 2006.

Indiana State University will host the Championships in Terre Haute, IN on Monday, Nov. 22. Race time for the women is set to begin at 10:08 a.m., with the men beginning at 10:48 a.m. MT. A live webcast will be broadcast on NCAA.com, with results posted following the completion of the meet.