The No. 12 BYU men's cross country team will square off with some of the nation's top programs Saturday in Eugene, Ore. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams are getting ready for their first major meets of the season as the men head to the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Eugene, Ore., while the women will compete at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Verona, Wisc.
The No. 12 BYU men’s team will go up against a field with more than half of the schools nationally ranked. They will face off against No. 1 Oregon, No. 8 Portland, No. 10 Alabama, No. 21 Cal Poly and No. 30 Villanova as well as Mountain West Conference foe Colorado State.
“We’ll have to have a nearly perfect day if we’re going to knock off some of those teams,” said BYU men’s cross country head coach Ed Eyestone. “It’s a good opportunity for us to earn some at-large points and hopefully move ahead of Portland and Alabama in the rankings. We’ll need to stay competitive, but have fun while we’re at it and we’ll be able to run with those guys.”
Alden Bahr, Miles Batty, Travis Fuller, Tommy Gruenewald, Robert Harrison, Brandon Hebbert, Jon Kotter, Ryan Merriman, Rich Nelson, Jonathan Nelson, Nate Ogden and Dylan Shawhan will look to provide a strong showing for the Cougars.
“I’ve told the guys to go all out and give their best effort,” Eyestone said. “Hopefully they can run with strength and speed to compete well on a very fast course.”
Hosted by the University of Oregon, the 8K meet will take place at the Springfield Country Club at 5:15 p.m. MT. Results can be found at www.goducks.com or www.recordtiming.com/uo/dellinger09/.
Moving up the national poll by two spots, the No. 23 BYU women’s team will also face a competitive field. They will compete against No. 10 Illinois, No. 17 Michigan, No. 21 Syracuse, No. 26 Wisconsin, No. 28 Arkansas and No. 29 Duke.
Other notable competition includes Auburn, Georgetown, Iowa, Lamar, Marquette, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin-La Crosse.
“This is our first real test of the season,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “It’s the first time we’ll have our top runners together to compete and showcase our talent. If we run well like we have at practice this week, we’ll be able to beat a lot of the teams there. We have a very good team.”
The Cougars will travel Katy Andrews, Lacey Cramer, Lisa Drury, Sarah Edwards, Sarah Frey, Rachel Lange, Michaelanne Laurent, Cecily Lemmon-Lew, Nicole Nielsen, Ashlee Thomas, Sarah Yingling and Angela Wagner. The race will be the first one this season for Wagner, last year’s MWC individual champion.
The 5K meet will be held at 10:45 a.m. MT at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course at University Ridge in Verona, Wisc. Results from the women’s meet can be found at www.UWBadgers.com.
“It will be a very challenging course,” Shane said. “It’s been 20 years since we were last in this race, but I’ve heard it is quite difficult. I believe that we have rested enough and prepared ourselves psychologically to do well in this race.”