Chandler Goodwin will be a leader of the 2007 team. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
After a No. 22 finish at the 2006 National Championships, the BYU women's cross country team looks to establish itself as one of the top teams in the nation this coming season.
With the absence of last year's frontrunners, the team looks to returning players and incoming freshmen for leadership and strong performances.
"We have a lot of good depth," said Patrick Shane, head coach of the BYU women's cross country team. "I'm excited about this season. The athletes on our team are a group of fun, spontaneous, hard-working individuals with great potential."
Several key athletes who had phenomenal seasons last year will play key roles in leading the 2007 squad to success.
Coach Shane has bright hopes for the 2007 women's cross country season.
"I want to see our team come together, to see leadership emerge and to find out how good we really are," Shane said.
Coach Shane will look to the experience and talent of several returning runners to lead the 2007 squad.
"The depth on our team needs to step it up," Shane said. "With the team in top form, I think we have the ability to go far this season."
Amy Fowler, who earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2006 and competed at the NCAA National Championships, will contribute her expertise to the team.
"I'm excited to see Amy step up and have a great season," Shane said.
Another key returning athlete is Amber Duffin. She earned first-team All-MWC honors and participated at the NCAA national Championships. Duffin placed third at the Great American Invitational in Alabama, and was recognized as the MWC Athlete of the Week (in September) for her performance there.
"She was our most improved runner last year," Shane said.
Also returning are seniors Tawny Bybee and Jenna Jensen.
"They are highly motivated runners, both married to members of the men's cross country team, who give us a lot of depth," Shane said.
Several newcomers will have the opportunity to make a strong impact in the coming season. Angela Wagner, a sophomore from South Africa, will be joining the cross country team after a successful freshman track season at BYU.
"She has great talent and potential, and we look forward to her making a difference on the cross country team," Shane said.
Wagner has extensive running experience. She ran cross country for the South African junior team, competing internationally. This year, Wagner hopes to make the South African Olympic Team in steeplechase.
Freshman Anna Sperry brings speed and experience to the squad.
"Anna is on everybody's list as one of the top three cross country potentials in the nation," Shane said.
The team will also look to several other freshman, with strong running backgrounds, for force this next season.
The depth of the women's cross country team, combined with incoming talent, will allow the athletes to prove their strength at upcoming meets.
Coach Shane looks forward to the season opener, on Sept. 8, to see how the runners perform.
"The BYU Autumn Classic is important to define the A and B group of runners," Shane said. "During the season we flip-flop every week with running and training. One group trains and the other runs in the races. The B group tries to make the A group."
The team also looks forward to the Oregon invitational.
"This is a very competitive meet where top universities come to compete with one another and prove their strengths," Shane said. "This meet helps determine our group for nationals."
After a No. 8 finish at the 2006 National Championships, the BYU men's cross country team looks forward to another strong season in 2007.
"We have several returning players with great experience and good leadership," said Ed Eyestone, head coach of the BYU men?s cross country team. "This next season should be exciting."
Chandler Goodwin leads the 2007 pack with his strength and experience. He placed sixth at the Mountain West Conference championships, earning himself first-team All-MWC honors. He also competed at the NCAA National Championships, placing 79th with a time of 32:22.
"Goodwin was our No. 2 runner last year [behind National Champion Josh Rohatinsky]," Eyestone said. "We're expecting him to step it up. He's capable of leading the team."
Along with Goodwin, senior Dustin Bybee will play an important role in leading the 2007 squad. Bybee also earned First-Team All-MWC honors and competed at the National Championships.
"With continued consistency, Bybee can run at the top," Eyestone said.
Coach Eyestone also has high hopes for Dan Hinckley, a returning junior who sat out most of last season with an injury.
"He's a guy who can be right up there with Goodwin," Eyestone said.
Other key returners include Tyrel Jensen and Jacob Gustaffson, who had successful 2007 seasons.
Several freshman and a transfer student will have the opportunity to make key contributions to the men?s team this season.
Stephan Shay, a transfer student from Michigan State, will bring speed and depth to the team. Last season, he placed 14th at the Big Ten Championships, and he competed at the NCAA National Championships.
"Stephen will contribute mightily to the team," Eyestone said. "I expect him to be running at the front with Goodwin.'
Several freshman, including Curtis Carr, Tyler Thatcher and Taylor Farnsworth, will provide strength and new energy to the team.
Taylor Farnsworth, the 2006 Idaho 5A Cross Country Champion, has a bright future ahead of him.
"He will be a definite force," Eyestone said.
Nathan Ogden recently returned from a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will join the team.
The 2007 Cougars look forward to a strong schedule, that will allow the team to prove their endurance and athleticism.
"All of the meets will be exciting," Eyestone said.
The season will start with the BYU Autumn Classic in Provo at East Bay Golf Course on September 8th.
"Our home-opener will be a good test for us to see how the summer went, to see the effectiveness of the summer training program," Eyestone said.
The team looks forward to The Notre Dame Invitational, which will give the Cougars an opportunity to compete with other universities from around the nation.
"The Notre Dame Invitational will be an exciting chance to run against some of the most competitive cross country programs in the nation," Eyestone said.
Coach Eyestone has high expectations for the 2007 season.
"I want to defend the conference championship title, qualify for nationals, and finish in the top ten," he said.
With competition growing, Eyestone knows the Cougars need to work hard this next season.
"The region is getting stronger, so we're going to have our work cut out for us," Eyestone said.