The No. 22 BYU women's cross country team will go up against some of the nation's elite Saturday in Arkansas. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- In preparation for the conference and national championship meets coming up in a few weeks, the BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams are training for high-level competitions in Arkansas and Indiana.
The No. 22 BYU women’s team will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the first time in 12 years to compete at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. MT in a 6K event.
Several top-ranked programs will compete at the meet as the Cougars will face the likes of No. 12 Baylor, No. 20 Texas Tech and No. 26 SMU as well as MWC schools TCU, Utah and Wyoming.
“This will be a tough race,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “There will be some very strong programs at this event and we hope to show that we can compete on a national level with them. The girls have been practicing running as a group and with the mindset that they want to win this.”
Lacey Cramer, Lisa Drury, Sarah Edwards, Sarah Frey, Rachel Lange, Michaelanne Laurent, Cecily Lemmon-Lew, Nicole Nielsen, Katie Swanson, Ashlee Thomas, Angela Wagner and Sarah Yingling will travel to compete for BYU.
“We’re turning Cecily loose to go for the win,” Shane said. “Texas Tech has some strong runners and the teams there will present a difficult challenge. We’ll just have fun and it will be a good opportunity for our young team in a big-meet environment.”
The No. 6 BYU men’s team is preparing to compete at the Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., Saturday at 10:40 a.m. MT in an 8K event at the LaVern Gibson Cross Country Championship Course, the same course where the NCAA Championships will occur.
Eight of the top 10 schools in the country will be at the race and 25 of the top 30 programs.
“It will be another chance to see where we are on a national scale and hopefully we’ll turn in a good run,” said BYU men’s cross country head coach Ed Eyestone. “It’s an important meet for us as we’ll decide who our top nine guys are that will compete at the Mountain West Conference race. We also want to show that our No. 6 ranking is valid and earn some at-large points.”
Alden Bahr, Miles Batty, Travis Fuller, Tommy Gruenewald, Reagan Frey, Brandon Hebbert, Jon Kotter, Ryan Merriman, Rich Nelson, Jonathan Nelson, Nate Ogden and Dylan Shawhan will look to provide a strong showing for the Cougars.
“The guys had a good couple of weeks of practice and are ready to come out hard,” Eyestone said.