Harriers Head to Iowa for NCAA Championships

BYU Cross Country Gears Up to Defend Their Title and Improve Their Rankings This Weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa at NCAA Championships. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- BYU men's and women's cross country teams will finish their 2003 season in Cedar Falls, Iowa, at the NCAA National Cross Country Championships Monday, Nov. 24, 2003.

The No. 1 ranked women's team is coming off a strong win at the Mountain Regional meet last week in Ogden, Utah. They have won every single meet this season but one and are looking to defend the last two year's back-to-back national titles.

"I was very pleased with how the team ran over the weekend," women's head coach Patrick Shane said. "That says more than anything else as to how we are going to do at Natioanls. We are starting to peak and it looks like we will be back in the zone again this year."

Four of the seven runners competing are All-Americans in cross country. Senior Michaela Mannova, a native of Dvur Kralov, Czech Republic, has won four of the five races this season including the MWC Championships, earning MWC Athlete of the Year, and NCAA Mountain Regionals. She looks to improve on her past two NCAA 5th place performances Monday in Iowa.

"We are used to the pressure that going to a National Championships brings," Shane said. "We have learned how to deflect that pressure and just plan on repeating that."

The No. 11 ranked men's team is looking it improve on last year's 16th place finish at nationals. This year they placed fourth at NCAA Mountain Regionals behind No. 3 Colorado, No. 5 Northern Arizona and No. 8 Air Force Academy.

BYU's top runner, Kip Kangogo, has repeated his 2002 performance thus far this season, winning every race but regionals. At regionals he fell behind one of the top runners in the nation, Colorado's Dathan Ritzenhein, to place second.

"I expect Kip to perform much better at Nationals," men's head coach Ed Eyestone said. "I expect Kip and Ritzenhein to go tooth and nail at Nationals."

A rebroadcast of the NCAA Championships will be shown on Fox Sports Rocky Mountain, cable Channel 51, on Wed., Dec. 3 at 3 p.m, 5 p.m., Tues. Dec. 9th at 1 p.m. and Wed. Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.

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