SALT LAKE -- In search of back-to-back NCAA Mountain Region championships, the No. 15 BYU men’s cross country team fell short, finishing 3rd overall with 80 points, behind No. 10 New Mexico and No. 9 Colorado in Salt Lake City, Saturday morning.
“We ran just like we needed to,” men’s coach Ed Eyestone said. “You want to run hard enough to advance but not too hard and we ran right where we needed to be.”
The Cougars wanted to put on a strong showing but wanted to leave something in the tank for the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., just nine days away. BYU needed to finish higher than 5th to ensure they would qualify.
Junior Miles Batty led the team for the sixth consecutive race this season, taking second place overall, finishing the 10K race in a time of 29:30.1 . He was followed closely by sophomore Travis Fuller in 11th (30:15.3), freshman Jared Ward in 15th (30:19.1), senior Nate Ogden in 25th (30:30.1), and junior Alden Bahr in 27th (30:32.9) to round out BYU’s top five.
“Miles (Batty) had a very good race,” Eyestone said. “I think we will be able to have our best race of the season though at nationals.”
Junior Rex Shields (30:50.9) and senior Jon Kotter (31:20.9) also took 34th and 48th overall, putting the entire team in the top 50 finishers.
Junior Kate Bowen led the BYU women’s cross country team to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Region meet on Saturday and earned an individual bid to the National Championships in the process.
“I am very proud of our entire team and especially of Kate for qualifying as an individual,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “We felt good about today’s race and finally had our team hit on all cylinders.”
The Cougars finished behind top-10 teams New Mexico, Texas Tech and Colorado but beat conference rival Colorado State, the same team that topped BYU two weeks ago at the MWC Championships.
Bowen finished 12th overall in 20:50.7 to earn the individual bid to nationals. Following Bowen was junior Katy Andrews in 23rd in 21:17.7 and senior Cecily Lew in 35th with a time of 21:39.2.
“I was hoping to do a little bit better, but I am still happy with how everything turned out,” Bowen said. “I am proud of our team and excited to represent BYU at nationals.”
Rounding out the top-five for the Cougars was sophomore Nicole Nielsen who finished 38th in 21:42.9 and junior Rachel Lange who crossed the line in 21:58.7 to earn 48th-place.
Andrews, Nielsen and Lange will all return to BYU next season while Lew will graduate. Bowen has an opportunity to appeal for another season of eligibility due to an injury during her sophomore year.
“I had a fun time coaching the team this season,” Shane said. “Everyone worked hard all season and always went out and ran their best.”
With the men's team scoring enough points to advance, the women's team will find out if the team has qualified for nationals on Monday. Indiana State will host the NCAA Championships on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Indiana.