The No. 7 men's team expects tough competition on Saturday in its quest for a tenth MWC crown. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Having enjoyed multiple successful meets thus far in the 2009 season, the BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams prepare to host the Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships Saturday morning at Cascade Golf Course in Orem, Utah.
The No. 7 men will compete first in an 8K race at 10 a.m. MT and will begin near the course clubhouse. As the 2009 preseason pick to take the MWC crown and having won nine of the last 10 conference championships, the Cougars are expected to receive stiff challenges from New Mexico and Air Force in this year’s bout.
“The competition will be very close,” said BYU men’s cross country head coach Ed Eyestone. “Air Force is always tough and New Mexico has several athletes with talent that can do a lot of damage. They’ve battled some injuries this year, but they are coached well and we refuse to take them lightly. We will have to give it our all to win this race.”
The Cougars are led by sophomore Miles Batty, who has been the first Cougar to arrive at the finish line in every race this season. Seniors Brandon Hebbert, Richard Nelson, and Ryan Merriman will compete in their last meet at home while teammates Tommy Gruenewald, Alden Bahr, Nate Ogden, Travis Fuller, Jonathan Nelson, Jon Kotter, Jared Rohatinsky and Dylan Shawhan will also run.
After losing to New Mexico by just two points in last year’s MWC championship, the No. 21 women’s team is ready to compete for its ninth MWC trophy.
“New Mexico is really good once again and Colorado State has the talent to make things interesting,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “We have worked really hard to put ourselves in a position to win conference and I’m pleased with the effort and attitude the team brings to achieve our goals. It should be a very tight race.”
The women’s team is led by junior Cecily Lemmon-Lew, who owns the MWC best times in 5K and 6K events this season and has two first-place finishes on the year. Senior Angela Wagner, last year’s MWC individual champion, is also expected to provide leadership while Katy Andrews, Lacey Cramer, Lisa Drury, Sarah Edwards, Sarah Frey, Rachel Lange, Michaelanne Laurent, Nicole Nielsen, Ashlee Thomas and Sarah Yingling will also compete.
“Cecily is considered the favorite to win the individual championship, but we’ll need all of our runners to step up if we’re going to win the team championship because they’ll have a large bearing in the outcome of the race,” Shane said.
Fan attendance is highly encouraged for the events.
“We want to invite the student body to be at Cascade Saturday morning,” Shane said “The weather is projected to be good and the course is very spectator-friendly. We could use all of the cheering and voices we can to help propel us to victory.”
Results from the meet can be found at RunnerCard.com.
Cascade Golf Course is located at 1313 East 800 North in Orem, Utah. For directions to the course, click here. Admission is free.
2009 MWC Cross Country Championships
Cascade Golf Center - Orem, UT
10 a.m. - Men's 8K race
11 a.m. - Women's 6K race
11:45 a.m. - Men's Awards Ceremony
12:00 p.m. - Women's Awards Ceremony