(Photo by Mark Philbrick)
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LOGAN, Utah -- The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams opened the 2011 season on Saturday where both teams came away with first place finishes at the Utah State Invitational.
The men won the meet off a score of 24, while Utah State claimed second with 43 points and Weber State came in third with 57.
“Our team ran a smart, controlled race,” men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said. “The first race of the season you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen, but I thought we were in great shape and they ended up running a good team effort.”
BYU had the one-two finish, with Jared Ward finishing first with a time of 20:47.7, and Curtis Carr in second at 20:58.7.
Running in his first meet since returning from his mission, Carr attributes the team’s victory to good preparation in the offseason.
“We wanted to go into the race and treat it as an early season workout,” Carr said. “It felt really comfortable and I think it was a good indicator of our fitness and we're excited for what’s to come the rest of the season.”
The women’s team brought a young crew to the in-state competition, and even though they were inexperienced, they were able to pull off the victory.
“I felt like they ran very well, for younger athletes with not as much experience, and we were fortunate to come away winning by a point,” women’s head coach Patrick Shane said.
Scoring 40 points to win the in-state competition, the Cougars beat Weber State by one point, while Utah claimed third with 55 points and Utah State took fourth with 94 points.
Although the whole team ran very well, Bethanie Krumen and Kelsi Tippets came through on the home stretch passing two Weber State girls and giving the Cougars the last few points to pull off the win.
“There was a girl from Weber in front and coach told me we really needed to pass her,” Tippets said. “Having everyone cheering for our team at the end and seeing one of my teammates sprinting ahead really helped me finish strong and we were able to pull off the win by one point.”
Freshman Sarah Darby finished first for BYU and third overall with a time of 17:42.7, while Kendy Christensen finished second for BYU and sixth overall with a time of 17:50.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will take a break next week as they prepare for the Autumn Invitational which will take place on Sept. 17 in Provo.
“It was fun to look around and see my teammates all around me. We had a lot of BYU jerseys up front for the whole race so it as an exciting start to the season to see so many guys running together.”
“We had a good summer and a good kickoff to the season shows that we are ready to get going and see what happens. I think we’ll have a good team.”
“We’ve been working really hard and it was great to be surrounded by the team. Seeing the Y on the back of their uniforms really helped me pull through. It was great to be able to help the team, but of course everyone worked together to pull the win out today.”