(Photo by BYU Photo)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The BYU men's team took first place with 24 points in the men's 8k race and the women's team placed second with 44 points in the women's 6k race at the 2016 West Coast Conference Championships in San Diego on Friday.
The No. 4 men were led to victory by second-place Jonathon Harper and BYU's top four runners finishing in the top 10 of the race. BYU was just nine points short of a perfect score. Head coach Ed Eyestone had high praises for his team’s win.
"The team really ran great today. We moved exceptionally well the last mile and a quarter and turned a close race into a runaway success. We made it a point to have our top five runners in the top seven overall. I was particularly happy with Jon Harper's strong run," said Eyestone.
Harper (24:26.2) finished just seven seconds behind San Francisco’s Alex Short. No. 12 Portland trailed closely behind BYU for the majority of the race but ended in second place with a score of 45. San Francisco ended in third with a score of 92.
The Cougars' next four finishers were closely behind Harper. Rory Linkletter took fourth (24:32.6), Brayden McClelland took fifth (24:33.3), Nicolas Montanez took sixth (24:40.8), and Clayton Young was seventh (24:42.2).
Harper, Linkletter, McClelland, Montanez, and Young, were named to the All-WCC First Team by finishing in the top 10 of the race.
Other BYU competitors, Spencer Hanson (11th), Mitchell Briggs (14th), and Daniel Carney (15th) were honorable mentions.
The team has four WCC championships in six seasons since joining the conference.
For the majority of the women's race, No. 20 BYU, No. 8 Portland, and No. 13 San Francisco battled it out at the front of the pack. In the end, the Cougars finished two points behind Portland (42 points). San Francisco finished in third with 47 points.
"Every girl fought hard to the end. We knew we had to go in and try to go for the win against two higher ranked teams," said BYU women's cross country head coach Diljeet Taylor. "We definitely showed that we can compete with anyone. The ladies left it all out there and I couldn't be more proud of how well they did today."
Senior Yesenia Silva led the Cougars by placing second place overall behind Portland’s Lauren Larocco. Silva finished the 6k race in 20:51.6.
BYU's next four runners all finished in the top 15. Laura Young came in eighth with a time of 21:06.9, Erica Brik-Jarvis was ninth with a time of 21:08.6, Ashleigh Warner placed 11th with a time of 21:09.1 and Courtney Wayment took 14th with a time of 21:22.8.
Other competitors for the women’s team included true freshman Olivia Hoj (16th), sophomore Alice Jensen (18th), junior Kristi Rush (19th) and senior Natalie Shields-Connolly (26th).
Based on Friday's results, Silva, Young and Brik-Jarvis were named to the All-WCC First Team. Warner and Wayment both earned honorable mentions.
Up next for the Cougars are the NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Friday, Nov. 11, in Logan, Utah.