Cougars cap off season at Nationals

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Junior Andrea Nelson Harrison finished in 86th place (21:14.3) to help BYU claim 28th place at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.

"Overall we feel like we achieved our goals this year of getting to nationals and we know we are a good team and we proved it here," head coach Patrick Shane said. "There are over 300 NCAA D1 teams that want to be here and we were 28th. We feel pretty good about that."

Providence won the national meet with Arizona and Butler right behind them. Fellow WCC competitor San Francisco finished in18th place.  BYU scored 687 points, and was followed by Notre Dame, Princeton and SMU.

Harrison led the way for the Cougars in the 6K race, sticking with the peloton and the top 100.

Sarah Yingling finished second for the Cougars in 151st place, (21:40.2).  Natalie Shields finished in 166th (21:46.9) and Makenna Smith finished fourth for the Cougars in 220th (22:16.9).  Lindsey Sowards Nielson finished fifth for BYU and 227th overall (22:23.0). Nicole Nielsen finished in 235th place (22:30.6), and Rachel Stewart finished in 244th place (22:52.2).

The women had an excellent season this year with a strong, young team and contended with the top programs in the country. The team had a goal to “run as one” throughout their races, clustering the girls strategically to build off of each other’s energy and work together to ensure a strong performance.

The team did not qualify to run at the national meet in 2012, and finished in 28th place in 2011.

"This was a season of trying to come back from a low point of not going to nationals last year," Shane said. "It was so much fun to coach those girls, they wanted to go to nationals and they worked so hard for it and we got in. Then we proved ourselves and showed that we belonged here." 

Full results can be found here.