The BYU women ran a team race to win the Aztec Invitational. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SAN DIEGO -- Competing for the first time in two weeks, the BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to California for meets in Riverside (men) and San Diego (women), and both teams came away with first place overall finishes.
“The course today was really tough,” women’s head coach Patrick Shane said. “There were some gnarly hills and a lot of areas that made for difficult footing. Our team did not get a chance to go through the whole course the night before, and we actually had a few runners take a wrong turn today.”
BYU won the meet with 55 points with the help of the two athletes that took the wrong turn. Sophomore Michaelanne Laurent and junior Millie Rapp were leading the race early when the two took the wrong turn around the one-mile mark.
The two recovered from the error well, as Laurent finished as the top BYU runner, placing fifth in 18:23 and Rapp finished third for BYU and 13th overall in 18:46.
Coming through in second place for the Cougars and in eighth overall was redshirt freshman Candace Eddy, who crossed the line 18:36. Rounding out the top-five for BYU was Stacy Slight, who grabbed 14th place in 18:49, and Lisa Drury, who finished 15th in 18:50.
A group of BYU runners came in just after Slight and Drury, as the Cougars took places 16-19. Kendy Christensen (18:52), Stephanie Jensen (18:52), Sarah Edwards (18:54) and Nicole Clark (18:54) made up the group of four.
“This was really a team race and a big group effort,” Shane said. “Cross country is really about how well you do as a team, and we won this race today as a team. I am really proud of everyone, and especially Michaelanne (Laurent) for finishing first among BYU runners for the first time in her career.”
The victory marks the second first place finish for the BYU women this season. BYU also won its first meet as a team at the Utah State Open. Next for the Cougars is the Bob Firman Invitational in Eagle, Idaho on September 25. The race will begin at 9:30 a.m. MST.
The No. 16 men’s team scored 26 points to win the University of California Riverside Invitational. The men’s team secured three of the top five positions overall to seal the victory.
Junior Miles Batty came in first overall at the meet, finishing the 8K race in a time of 23:52. The win is Batty’s second first place finish of the 2010 season.
“What I liked most about the race was this was a very nice team performance,” men’s coach Ed Eyestone said. “Batty showed some leadership in a very crowded race with close to 400 people. He could have run out in front but chose to run strong in the lead pack and encourage his teammates, even dropping back for a while to help them out.”
Following Batty was juniors Rex Shields in third place and Alden Bahr in fifth, with senior Jon Kotter in 11th and sophomore Jared Rohatinsky in 14th, rounding out BYU’s top five finishers. Freshmen Aaron Fletcher, Cody Helbing and Ben Johnston all ran well for the Cougars, finishing 15th, 21st and 23rd, overall.
“Our time split between our first and fifth man was much better this week,” Eyestone said. “That was something we are looking to improve on and that’s the sort of split that will help us be a top three or four national team.”
Full results are available on Flash Results
BYU will hit the road again on Sept. 25 and head to St. Paul, MN for the 25th Annual Roy Griak Invitational. The men will compete in an 8K race beginning at 11:20 a.m. MT.