PROVO, Utah – The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams both came away with wins over Weber State at the Autumn Classic at Clarence F. Robison Track in Provo on Saturday.
BYU’s only home meet of the season proved to be a successful one, with the men’s team taking first place in the four-mile race with a total of 16 points to Weber State’s 46, and the women’s team taking first place in the three-mile race with a total of 19 points to Weber State’s 40.
“I feel really good about this win,” BYU cross country head coach Ed Eyestone said. “It showed that were are a good team. The strategy was to pack it up, run a controlled team race for the first two miles and then push the last couple. Towards the end it was apparent we were going to come close to our goals in terms of having strong people right up at the front.”
Senior captain Nicolas Montanez finished in first in the men’s four-mile race with a time of 20:11.01. He was followed closely by teammates Clayton Young and Rory Linkletter who took second and third paces with times of 20:14.7 and 20:25.8, respectively.
Unattached Brayden McClelland took fourth place by finishing in 20:29.0, and just behind him was Cougar Jonathan Harper who ran a time of 20:29.9. Weber State’s top finisher was Dallin Leatham who took sixth place by running a 20:31.7 race and unattached runner Steve Morrin took seventh with a time of 20:34.2.
“All you can ask for in cross country is a perfect score of 15 points, and we finished with 16,” Eyestone said. “So I thought this race was a really good sign for our team.”
The women’s team saw several Cougar runners in the top 10, including the top finisher, and the home team took first place with 19 points
“We were prepared to put up a good fight coming to this race, knowing that Weber was ranked a couple spots ahead of us nationally,” BYU assistant coach and women’s cross country and distance coach Diljeet Taylor said. “We talked about it as a team and had a really great race plan coming in. The girls executed perfectly. They ran hard and they ran tough, and I am really proud of them.”
Sophomore Erica Birk-Jarvis took first place in the three-mile and won the invite by posting a time of 17:25.7. She was followed by Hailey Whetten of Weber State, who finished in 17:29.1.
Cougars Laura Young, Ashleigh Warner, Yesenia Silva and Kristi Rush took the next four spots in the race, finishing in 17:33.5, 17:40.3, 17:42.3 and 17:57.0, in third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, respectively.
“It is so fun and rewarding to see all that hard work pay off,” Taylor said. “The girls showed me today that they are gamers, and that is huge. They are all in.”
The men’s and women’s teams will travel next to Virginia for the Panorama Farms Invitational on Sept. 23.
PROVO, Utah – The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams open up the 2016 season by hosting the Autumn Classic Saturday morning at Clarence F. Robison Track in Provo.
BYU will host Weber State, and the two schools will participate in a dual meet featuring a college men’s four mile and a college women’s three mile.
“We look forward to a good matchup with Weber State on both on the men’s and women’s side,” head coach Ed Eyestone said. “Our women are hoping to run well enough to defend our home turf, and our men’s team really needs to be on point and run well. I definitely think we will be able to.”
The men’s four mile will feature seven BYU athletes, including seniors and co-captains Nicolas Montanez and Mitchell Briggs. Montanez was the top returner from the conference meet in 2015 after finishing in second place behind former Cougar Aaron Fletcher.
“Nico’s training has stepped up over the summertime, and he has looked very consistent. I expect him to run very well,” Eyestone said. “And Mitchell has always been steady and consistent also, so he is going to provide some good support as well.”
Junior Jonathan Harper will compete alongside the senior captions.
“Jonathan has had a really good offseason and is running smart right now,” Eyestone said. “He doesn’t seem to be pushing himself too hard because more than ever he understands the importance of being 100 percent at the end of the year, rather than at the beginning or middle of the year.”
Rory Linkletter, an NCAA qualifier in the 5000 meters in track and field, will suit up this weekend as well.
“Rory is coming off a navicular stress reaction—basically a broken bone in his foot—but he has come back from that ahead of schedule,” Eyestone said. “He’s still got some room to go, but he’ll only continue to get better.
The men’s cross country team is currently ranked fourth in the regional USTFCCCA poll and 13th in national rankings. They sit in fourth in the Mountain Region after a 12th-place finish at the last year’s NCAA Championships.
The women’s three-mile race will feature a total of 11 Cougar runners, many of whom are freshmen and sophomores.
“We have a young women’s team, but our women obviously want to represent and run really well,” Eyestone said.
Weber State boasts a strong returning team that is ranked third in the Mountain Region, but the Cougars are looking forward to the competition.
The women’s team ranks fourth overall in the Mountain Region, just one spot behind Weber State. The team sits in 27th place in the national rankings after a 23rd-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
The college men’s four-mile race is set to begin at 9:45 a.m. MDT on Saturday at the Clarence F. Robinson Track and Field Complex on the BYU campus. The college women’s three-mile race will begin at 10:50 a.m. MDT. Team awards will be presented at 12:50 p.m. MDT.
“There won’t be very many teams out there, but the people that are there are good,” Eyestone said. “Hopefully we have lots of people out there cheering for us,” Eyestone said.
Entrance to the Autumn Classic is $5. Children five and under are free. Any athlete age 14 and under that wears their track or cross country uniform is admitted free.