(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
TERRE HAUTE -- For the first time in NCAA history, there is live televising of the men's and women's cross country championships.
CSTV will televise the men's 10K race live at noon Eastern Time, followed by the women's 6K race live at 12:55 p.m. Walt Murphy of Harrier Express magazine and Larry Rawsen are the broadcast team.
While Josh Rohatinsky isn't back to defend his title for BYU in the men's race due to graduation, Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego is back to defend her title in the women's race. She won the Mountain Region title last weekend in Ogden where Northern Arizona's Lopez Lomong, a displaced Sudanese runner, won the men's race. Lomong is considered a favorite to win the men's race on Monday.
The Cougars are one of 14 schools qualifying both a men's and a women's team in the 61-team combined field. BYU is one of few schools who can boast of having a pair of husband-wife combos competing for both teams: Dustin and Tawny Bybee, and Tyrel and Jenna Jensen.
Prior to Monday's competition, BYU's teams took a "break" to attend Church services as well as present a youth fireside at the Honey Creek Ward in Terre Haute. Most of the rest of the NCAA field ran the LaVern Gibson Championship Course on practice runs Sunday, while BYU's teams inspected the course on Saturday.
"When other teams are out there scouting the course, we have taken a diversion attending Church and doing a fireside," said Shane. "Others might think this is an unwise use of our time, doing something which is different that we would do before a Saturday race."
At the Sunday fireside, Jenna Jensen, Cecily Lemmon and Amy Fowler Layne joined coach Patrick Shane of BYU's women's team, speaking on "Of One Heart and One Mind," while Ryan Merriman, Tylor Thatcher and Derek Taylor joined coach Ed Eyestone in speaking on "Endure to the End." Merriman served a Church mission to Houston, one of 10 on the team who have served volunteer two-year missions.
The teams closed the fireside by singing a medley "As Sisters in Zion," and "We'll Bring the World His Truth," accompanied by Eyestone's wife, Lynn, and conducted by former BYU All-American runner Doug Padilla. Presiding at the fireside was President Clair Simmons of the Bloomington Indiana Stake.
The Cougars' women's team, currently ranked No. 17, won the NCAA four times since 1997. The BYU men's team is currently ranked No. 26, behind No. 2 Colorado, No. 4 UTEP and No. 6 Northern Arizona who placed ahead of them in last week's Mountain Regional.