PROVO, Utah – After a sixth-place finish in its first major competition of the season, the BYU women’s cross country team is set to compete against six top-30 teams in the gold race of the Greater Louisville Invitational in Louisville, Ky.
“This will be a great meet for our runners to compete in, especially against so many ranked teams,” head coach Patrick Shane said. “It’s the first time we have competed in this invitational, and it’s the same course the National Championship will be run on. It will be a good opportunity for our girls to get a feel for what it’s like.”
Teams competing this weekend ranked in the top 30 are Arizona (12th), Arkansas (10th), Michigan State (14th), Penn State (17th), Vanderbilt (8th) and Wisconsin (29th). Iowa and West Virginia, who also received votes, are also competing in the race. For a complete list of the women’s teams, visit www.alltraxtiming.com.
Sarah Darby, the 2011 West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year, opens up her season this weekend after sitting out last week due to an illness. During the WCC Championships Darby was the highest-placing freshman, finishing second for BYU and 17th overall in 21:56.0 to earn freshman of the year honors.
Freshman Erika Reddish and senior Shaylynn Baugh Fuller, who finished off the Cougars’ top five last week in 35th and 39th, respectively, will join Darby as the top runners for the Cougars going into this weekend.
Rachel Stewart, Danica Wyson and Ashleigh Warner, who also competed last week in Toledo, are set to compete this weekend.
In order to come out strong in the final meets of the season, Shane will not run the team’s top-three runners Natalie Shields, Michaelanne Laurent and Lindsey Sowards Nielson.
“Not running our top three from last week will affect our ability to score higher, but we don’t want to give up what we want most for what we want now,” Shane said. “Conserving some of our runners will allow us to be ready at the end of the season.”
The women’s gold race is scheduled to begin at 10:15 a.m. ET at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park followed by the blue race at 11:30 a.m. and the silver race at 12:30 p.m.
Full results from the race will be posted on www.alltraxtiming.com following the completion of the race.