BYU's Stephan Shay running at preseason camp in Midway, Utah. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
After competing in the pre-nationals meet in Terra Haute, Ind., the BYU men’s and women’s cross teams return home victorious.
In the Men’s White Race, BYU placed third overall, while in the Women’s Blue Race the Cougars came out in 12th.
“The men ran very well,” said BYU men’s cross country head coach Ed Eyestone. “This was our best team race so far; we had a strong performance and I am very happy with the results.”
In the top five for the BYU men’s team were, first, Stephan Shay (23:55.3), second, Kyle Perry (23:57.3), third, Rich Nelson (24:17.4), fourth, Thomas Gruenwald (24:17.8) and fifth, Jacob Gustafsson (24:21.7).
Despite not placing as high as it would have liked, the women’s team felt it ran a solid race, knowing now some specific areas for individual and collective improvement.
“The team ran a solid race,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “We felt good about beating some good teams; we have some pressure on us now for the Conference Championships but we know where to make improvements and those will happen.”
Coming in first for the BYU women’s team was Angela Wagner (21:14.5), second, Anna Sperry (21:19.0), third, Katy Andrews (21:39.5), followed by fourth and fifth, Rachel Lange (21:48.1) and Stacy Slight (21:48.6).
The men’s team motto “juntos”, which means together, was not a problem for the men this time. Having only a 26 second differential between BYU’s No. 1 finisher Shay (23:55.3) and the No. 5. Gustafsson (24.21.7), the Cougars had the smallest difference among any of the top 10 teams.
“We ran really well as a team and had good compression between our first an fifth runners,” said Shay. “We’re really happy with how we did and I feel like we were able to prove our strength in this race.”
Being able to see how BYU compared to the other teams, Perry feels optimistic about BYU’s preparation for Nationals.
“We performed well,” said Perry, “but there is still a lot of room for improvement. There weren’t too many teams ahead of us, so hopefully we can make it the podium at Nationals.”
Seeing the women’s team perform at this meet demonstrated some areas for improvement and the athletes are prepared and optimistic about making those changes.
“This wasn’t an amazing race for us,” said Wagner. “I had some breathing problems at this course last year so I think I started off too conservative. I feel like we could have done better, but we still ran well as a team. None of us felt like we raced our best, so we’ll work hard and do better next time.”
Now that training for Pre-Nationsls is over, the teams are preparing for the Mountain West Conference Championships coming up. This meet will be held Nov. 1, in San Diego, Calif., the men racing at 10 a.m. and the women at 11 a.m, both Pacific Time.
Pre Nationals, Oct. 18, 2008
LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course
Women’s Blue Race Results
2. Villanova, 126
3. Minnesota, 198
4. Michigan State, 215
5. Florida, 233
6. Wisconsin, 247
7. Stanford, 248
8. Rice, 263
1. Brianna Felnagle, North Carolina, 20:02.4
2. Hollie Knight, Auburn, 20:13.4
3. Kendra Schaaf, Washington, 20:14.7
4. Christine Babcock, Washington, 20:15.2
5. Marie Lawrence, Washington, 20:17.8
6. Nicole Bush, Michigan State, 20:19.1
7. Gwen Jorgensen, Wisconsin, 20:19.3
8. Katie Follett, Washington, 20:20.3
9. Beverly Ramos, Kansas State, 20:20.6
10. Danette Doetzel, Providence, 20:23.8
Men’s White Race Results
1. Sanford, 77
2. Iona, 123
3. BYU, 154
4. Auburn, 194
5. UCLA, 196
6. Virginia, 205
7. Tulsa, 212
8. Indiana, 219
1. Samuel Chelanga, Liberty, 22:51.3
2. Felix Kibioywo, Auburn, 23:35.5
3. Garrett Heath, Stanford, 23:36.4
4. Chris Derrick, Stanford, 23:37.0
5. Girma Mesecho, Auburn, 23:37.5
6. Jeremy Criscione, Florida, 23:38.7
7. Jordan Kyle, Colorado, 23:39.9
8. John Beattie, Tulsa, 23:40.7
9. Andrew Ledwith, Iona, 23:41.1
10. Kiel Uhl, Iowa State, 23:43.4