On the Road to Pre-Nationals

The BYU men's cross country team at the start of the BYU Autumn Classic (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

After a week of being idle, the BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams will take off to Terre Haute, Ind. to compete at the Pre-Nationals meet on Saturday.

“This meet is the best opportunity of the year to perform,” said BYU men’s cross country head coach Ed Eyestone. “We have a two-fold mission this race: run as a team to get the points we need and determine who the No. 8 and No. 9 runners will be at the Conference Championships in San Diego.”

With 86 women’s teams and 82 men’s team competing there are two races, the Blue and White race for both. The 6K women’s Blue race begins at 11:00 a.m., followed by the White race beginning at 11:35 a.m. The men’s 8K races begin shortly after, starting with the Blue race at 12:10 p.m., followed by the White race at 12:50 p.m. After these races, there will be two final open races, beginning at 1:30 p.m. for the women and 2:05 p.m. for the men. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.

“This is the most important meet that we’ve had this year,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “It is very important in determining how we can advance for the National Championships.”

Along with entering his top seven runners, Eyestone plans on entering five others into the open race to determine who will be joining the team as runners No. 8 and No. 9 for the Mountain West Conference Championships on Nov. 1.

The women’s team has developed a strong race plan, making sure the athletes run in groups to pull strength from each other for the race. According to Shane, keeping to these groups is essential to making sure the runners perform their best.

This weekend’s meet will be held at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. The Cougars will be competing against many nationally ranked teams from nine regions throughout the United States.

“All the top teams in the nation will be there,” said Shane. “This means we get to race against many of the best teams; we’re making sure we are ready and can perform at our highest level of competition.”