(Photo by BYU Photo)
MADISON, Wis. – Andrea Nelson Harrison finished first among Cougar runners for the third time this season leading BYU women’s cross country to a 26th place finish at the Wisconsin Invitational Friday.
Harrison’s time of 20:48 in the 6-kilometer race and 63rd place finish overall was an improvement from last year, yet she believes her performance could have been even better.
“I wasn’t disappointed but I was hoping to do a little better,” Harrison said. “I was happy that I improved on both time and place from last year but I didn’t feel as fresh as Notre Dame. I definitely feel like I have more in me.”
Following Harrison once again were Carrie Jube and Jennica Redd. Jube and Redd completed the course with times of 21:12 and 21:26, respectively. Makenna Smith finished fourth in 21:32. Kristi Rush was fifth place for the team finishing in 21:59.
“We were flat today, a little tired coming in,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “They ran hard, and even though they felt tired, they ran pretty well. Andrea Harrison did a wonderful job. Carrie Jube ran a solid race and Kristi Rush battled well as our fifth runner.”
The meet was important for BYU with 22 ranked teams participating and an opportunity to move up in the rankings in its effort to qualify for nationals. The goal before the meet was to place in the top 20 and perhaps the top 15. The 26th place finish overall was not the desired result for the team, but the Cougars did beat two ranked squads in Notre Dame and William and Mary.
“We didn’t help ourselves get to nationals today, but hopefully we’ve done enough at Minnesota and Notre Dame that it will work out,” Shane said. “It wasn’t what we hoped for but it was our best today.”
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day for BYU came in the “B” race with sophomore Marren Haneberg of Snohomish, Washington, finishing 18th overall with a time 21:39.
“I would have to say Marren was a great surprise and I’m really pleased with how she put it together,” Shane said.
The race was Haneberg’s second race in her first collegiate season. Her performance could earn her a spot on the team that will compete at the West Coast Conference Championships.
“I feel pretty good about my race,” Haneberg said. “Going in to the race, I wasn’t sure where I would be place-wise. I made a goal to just leave it out there and have fun. I knew 22 out of the top 30 teams were here, but the training here is great. Coach Shane knows what he’s doing, so I had confidence in that.”
The Cougars will now turn their attention to the final portion of their season that includes the West Coast Conference Championships in two weeks, followed by the Mountain Regional Championship and then the NCAA Championships.
“We are pretty excited for this last third of the season,” Harrison said. “We still have the goal and expectation of winning conference. We also feel pretty confident in the results at Griak and Notre Dame. We can still go to nationals and show what we can do. I still don’t think we’ve reached our full potential, we’re still getting there.”
BYU will have another bye week before the West Coast Conference Championships on Nov. 1 in Santa Clara, California.
Full meet results for the “A” race and “B” races can be found at the University of Wisconsin’s results page. The “B” race is listed under the open meet results.