The BYU women's cross country team will compete in the Great American Festival in Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend, while the men's team travels to Minneapolis to run in the Roy Griak Invitational.
Fresh off a victory over No. 16 Washington and No. 26 Weber State, the 6th-ranked BYU women will look to make a strong showing in Charlotte on Friday evening, as they are scheduled to compete against No. 5 Georgetown and No. 8 North Carolina Sate. The Cougars will be without one of their top runners for the meet. Tara Northcutt, the defending NCAA 10,000-meter champion, will miss the first few weeks of the season due to a knee injury. But even without one of his returning All-Americans, the depth of the Cougar lineup gives coach Patrick Shane confidence in his team's chances.
"This will be a very competitive field" Shane said. "We need everybody to go out and run well, but if we can do that, we should have a pretty good chance of winning."
BYU is looking to defend its 1999 national title despite losing three All-Americans from last year's team. Even though they have yet to compete in a major meet this year, the Cougars are already receiving national attention. Coach Shane and the team were featured in an article in the Sept. 19 sports section of USA Today.
Meahwhile, after knocking off No. 23 Weber State in a dual meet, the BYU men's team will look to make its case for a top twenty-five rankingwith a good race this weekend. The Minnesota meet will feature three top-ten teams in No. 5 Arizona, No. 6 Wisconsin, and No. 9 Oregon. Altogether, nine of the top 25 teams in the country will be competing Saturday.
The Roy Griak Invitational is the third-largest meet in the country, falling just behindthe NCAA Championship and the Pre-NCAA meet. Men's and women's teams from Division I, Division II, Division III and high school will compete in separate categories.