NCAA Regionals await the Cougars

The men and women travel to Fort Collins, Colorado this weekend for the NCAA Mt Region. Both the men and women are coming off MWC titles and now have their sites on nationals. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Coming off their title runs at the Mountain West Conference Championships, the men and women's cross country teams lace up their shoes for the NCAA Mt. Regionals, in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The rain is falling and the snow is coming and what that means for the Cougars is championship time has come.

For the last couple of months the men and women have prepared themselves for what lies ahead. Hopefully, all the long and exhausting workouts will pay off as the Cougars strive for chance to be called the best.

Women's coach Patrick Shane, who's coached four national championship teams in the last seven years noted, "It's all about qualifying for the NCAA Championships."

Laura Turner, who received the MWC Women's Athlete of the Year award, will lead a talented group of runners who are pursuing their fourth consecutive district title.

"We've had some really good workouts the last couple of weeks," Shane said. "The team is coming together and I expect some great things happening this weekend."

Despite a fourth place finish at last year's event, the men bring a whole new look and attitude to this year's race.

"The guys look great," men's coach Ed Eyestone said. "We had an awesome week of practice and I feel confident going into this weekend."

The men will be led by sophomore Josh Rohatinsky, who has established himself as one of the nation's top runners. Behind Rohatinsky, is a core of runners who each week find a jewel hidden in the ruff.

"Our depth is our key," Eyestone said. "If we are going to place in the top four our depth is going to be what gets us there."

Unlike the course they ran on at the MWC Championships the regional event features nothing, but flat open terrain.

"It's a pancake flat course," Eyestone said. "No imagination could describe a hill of any kind."

The men will run their first 10k run of the year, which is an additional two miles of running. This could be a major turning point for some teams, something Eyestone isn't to worried about.

"We've trained ourselves for this, but it's always different when your out there competing," Eyestone added. "The team is feeling pretty loose. We know we don't have to hit any home runs this weekend, but we also don't want to coast through the race. We want to run well enough to get to nationals."

"We don't talk about the meet to much," Shane said. "They know it's coming up. My style of coaching is we don't over emphasize it, they know what their training for and I don't need to talk about it much."

The meet starts on Saturday, November 13th with the women's 6K event at 11:00 a.m., followed by the men's 10k event at 12:15 p.m.