Ashleigh Warner leads women's cross country team to first-place finish at Twilight Classic

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

RENO, Nev. – Freshman Ashleigh Warner and three other newcomers finished their first collegiate race in the top six to give BYU its first win of the year at the Reno Twilight Classic.

“This was just a fun meet to be apart of,” head coach Patrick Shane said. “Our freshman led our team, and we all saw a glimpse of what we have the potential to become. Going into this race, we set a goal to have all 13 of our runners in the top 20, and we ended up accomplishing that goal.”

Warner finished first for BYU and second overall crossing the line in 14 minutes 44 seconds. Teammate Danica Wyson finished just two seconds later to finish second for BYU and third overall (14:46). Rachel Stewart finished third for BYU and fifth overall (14:54), while teammate Laura Young finished fourth for BYU and sixth overall, one second behind Stewart (14:55).

To close out the Cougars’ top five, Makenna Smith came in at 14:59 to finish eighth overall. BYU finished with a total of 24 points, 14 points ahead of the University of Nevada, which finished with 38. Utah (83) and UNLV (102) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Warner, Wyson and Young were all part of Shane’s strong recruiting class and were several of Utah’s top distance runners in last year's high school track and field season. Stewart, a native of Great Falls, Montana, is one of the team’s walk-ons and is already making a significant impact to the overall team’s performance.

“Going into this race, we didn’t really know what to expect,” Warner said. “Right before it started, coach Shane told us to be competitive and that’s what we did. It was great to run with teammates so close and if we continue that, it will really help in some of the tougher races coming up.”

Last week BYU competed at the Utah State Classic but did not place due to an insufficient number of runners on each team BYU entered. Candace Eddy Carlisle finished first for BYU and 14th overall in Logan. This week she improved her ranking to finish 10th overall in 15:00. Kathryn Vidmar finished ninth overall, just tenths of a second behind Smith and one second ahead of Carlisle.

Full results from the Reno Twilight Classic can be found here.

Next week both the men's and women’s team return home to host the annual BYU Autumn Classic on Sept. 17.