First-Place Finish in Sizzling Arizona
TUCSON -- Arizona hosted the Dave Murray Invitational on Friday, but the No. 19 BYU men's cross country team battled the heat and came out on top.
The Cougars (35) beat Arizona State (42), Paradise Valley Community College (125), Central Arizona (141) and Arizona (144), despite the 100-degree weather.
"I think our main concern was we wanted to run well, but we didn't want to do any damage because of the heat," BYU coach Ed Eyestone said. "I think our guys performed exceptionally well considering the conditions."
BYU junior Stephan Shay finished in first place amongst the college runners, completing the 6,000-meter race in a time of 18:09.48. Shay, a transfer from Michigan State, beat Central Arizona runner Tyson David by nine seconds.
"It was real hot down here, so we all had to combat the weather," Shay said. "But I thought it went pretty well. The leaders went out a little quicker than we anticipated but it was a good race."
There was a pack of four runners leading most of the race, including BYU's Shay and sophomore Brandon Hebbert, but Hebbert fell back in the last 1,000 meters to finish in 11th place.
"Hebbert was a real trooper today because he wasn't feeling too well," Eyestone said. "We had to quarantine him in his room all day so he wouldn't get anybody else sick."
Jacob Gustafsson, a junior from Mission Viejo, Calif., who sat out last week's BYU Autumn Classic, came in third place with a time of 18:20.12. Senior Chandler Goodwin rounded out BYU's top-three runners finishing in 10th place at 18:29.59.
"I was excited to get out there for my first race, and I just wanted to go out and pace myself along with the team," Gustafsson said. "It's a good start for the first race of the season."
The Cougars' next race will be on Sep. 28, in South Bend, Ind., at the Notre Dame Invitational.
Arizona Is First Road Trip
PROVO -- The first road trip for the No. 19 men's cross country team lands them in Arizona for the Dave Murray Invitational on Friday at 5:45 p.m. local time.
The men will be facing Arizona, Arizona State, Central Arizona, Northern Arizona and Pima Community College. Last week at the Autumn Classic, the Cougars finished in second place behind Big Ten powerhouse Minnesota.
"This time of year, it's almost the equivalent of a preseason event," BYU coach Ed Eyestone said, noting that points toward nationals won't start until the third meet of the season. "The guys are jockeying for position at this point in a good-natured competition. They're trying to ensure a spot on the travel roster and for the conference championships."
BYU is led by junior transfer Stephan Shay, who placed second at the Autumn Classic to lead all Cougar runners. Shay ran the four-mile race in 19:29.3. The Cougars are also led by sophomore Brandon Hebbert, freshman Taylor Farnsworth and 2005 All-American Chandler Goodwin.
The Wildcats lost their top-five runners from the 2006 squad, leaving them with 10 freshman and three sophomores on their 14-man team. Junior Lou Maturo and Sophomores Dylan Fitzpatrick and Brian MacArthur are the only returning scorers for the team.