The BYU men's and women's cross country teams will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., Saturday, to defend their Mountain West Conference Championships. Both teams won the inaugural conference titles last year on thier home course at the East Bay Golf Course in Provo.
The 1999 Cougar women set the standard in the first year of MWC competition, taking the top five places to record a perfect score of 15 points. This year's team will have its work cut out to equal such a performance. However, the Cougars are showing signs that they are in good position to continue their conference dominance. BYU won 11 consecutive conference championships before claiming the first MWC championship.
BYU enters this year's conference meet ranked No. 1 in the country. In their only head-to-head competition against conference opponents this year, BYU won the Pre-national Invitational while Colarado State took 10th and Air Force finihsed in 45th place. In addition, BYU runners hold three of the top ten times in the conference this year at 6K, having only run one race at that distance.
The BYU men will also be defending their title from a year ago. Junior John Hedengren led the 1999 team to victory with a first-place individual finish. This year the Cougars have raced against conference opponents in two meets. Colorado and Utah competed in both the Roy Griak Invitational and the Pre-national Invitational. Wyoming raced at the Minnesota meet, and Air Force competed at the Pre-national. BYU was the highest conference finisher in both meets, placing 3rd at the Griak Invitational and 4th at the Pre-national race.
The Cougars are ranked No. 7 in the latest poll, which was released Oct. 17. Colorado State, at No. 22, is the only other conference team in the rankings.
The Mountain West Conference Championships will be held Saturday at the Collindale Golf Course in Fort Collins, Colo. The women's 6K race begins at 11 a.m. with the men's 8K race to follow at 11:45 a.m. Results can be found at http://mountainwestconf.fansonly.com/sports/c-xc/stats/102800aaa.html