Men and Women are Picked as MWC Favorites

The men and women are favored to sweep the MWC this year as the coaches picked the two squads to likely be crowned conference champions at the end of the season. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

BYU is favored to win this year's Mountain West Conference championship in both men's and women's cross country in a vote by the league's coaches released today.

BYU collected three first place votes and a total of 23 points to capture the top spot in the men's poll. Air Force and New Mexico totaled 19 points apiece to tie for second place. The Falcons notched two first place votes, while the Lobos claimed the remaining first place nod. Colorado State claimed fourth place with 15 points, followed by Utah (eight points) in fifth and Wyoming sixth (six points).

For the fifth straight season, the BYU women's team received seven first place votes and gathered a perfect score of 49 points to capture the top spot in the poll. Colorado State's women's team collected the other first place vote and was predicted to finish second with 41 points. Air Force claimed the third spot with 31 points, followed by Utah and Wyoming (28 points each) tying for fourth place. New Mexico was picked to finish sixth with 27 points, while San Diego State (13) and UNLV (7) were picked seventh and eighth, respectively.

The Air Force men won their first-ever MWC crown in 2003, while the BYU women won their fifth consecutive MWC title. The Cougar women went on to finish second in the NCAA Cross Country Championship in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Junior Kassi Andersen and senior Laura Turner will lead the 2003 squad. Andersen finished 13th and Turner finished 14th at last year's NCAA Championships. The Cougar men finished 19th in last year's NCAA's and will be led by senior Nathan Robison.

Preseason Men's Cross Country Coaches' Poll

Pl. Team (1st Place Votes) Points

1. BYU (3) 23

2. Air Force (2) 19

3. New Mexico (1) 19

4. Colorado State 15

5. Utah 8

6. Wyoming 6

Preseason Women's Cross Country Coaches Poll

Pl. Team (1st Place Votes) Points

1. BYU (7) 49

2. Colorado State (1) 41

3. Air Force 31

4. Utah 28

5. Wyoming 28

6. New Mexico 27

7. San Diego State 13

8. UNLV 7