(Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.--Miles Batty finished 14th leading the BYU men’s cross country team to a fourth-place finish at the 2011 NCAA National Championships at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course on Monday.
“It was an outstanding team run today,” men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said. “This is something we’ve worked for all year long and we were extremely happy to finish on the podium in fourth place. We really met and exceeded most of our goals for the season and it was nice to be able to come home with a trophy.”
Finishing with a total of 203 points, the Cougars came in behind Wisconsin (97), Oklahoma State (139) and Colorado (144). Batty finished first for the Cougars and 14th overall in the 10K, with a time of 29:40.
“I went out really conservative with the team and then as I worked my way up I was running part of the race by myself but I was able to hang tough and I felt happy with the race and that I was able to improve on last year,” Batty said. “We were able to achieve great results and I’m really proud of our team."
Junior Rex Shields and sophomore Jared Ward came in second and third for the Cougars and 22 and 58 overall with times of 29:52 and 30:28, respectively. Sophomores Tylor Thatcher and Jason Witt rounded out fourth and fifth for BYU, solidifying an impressive team finish with the top-five Cougars all finishing in the top 100.
“Finishing in the top four on the podium today is equivalent to the basketball team finishing in the final four,” Eyestone said. “It’s a really big deal and I’m really proud of the guys.”
Coming in fourth, the Cougars had their second-best team finish in the history of the program, behind only a second-place finish in 1993.
The women’s cross country team finished 28th overall at nationals after receiving an at-large bid to participate in the championships.
“We were thrilled with our team and individual performances today,” women’s head coach Patrick Shane said. “We came in ranked 30th and finished 28th overall. When you consider that there are over 330 teams that compete to be here, to finish 28th at nationals is really an honor.”
Once again the Cougars were led by senior Morgan Haws who finished 14th overall in the 6K with a time of 19:59.
“The race started out really fast but because we run race pace all the time in practice that pace is really ingrained in my legs,” Haws said. “I was able to keep my pace and achieve my goal of finishing in the top 15. It was really a great experience and I was glad that we could all be at nationals together as a team.”
Junior Stephanie Jensen-Bills, senior Katy Andrews and freshman Sarah Darby finished within .02 from each other with Jensen-Bills and Andrews finishing with a time of 21:43 and Darby coming in at 21:45. Junior Rachel Lange-Schmutz rounded out BYU’s top five with a time of 22:08.
With their top-25 finishes Haws, Batty and Shields all earned All-America plaudits from the USTFCCCA. The USTFCCCA will announce Division I National Athletes and Coaches of the Year on Wednesday.
Full results from the NCAA Cross Country National Championships can be found at NCAA.com.