PROVO -- In typical BYU fashion, the men's and women's team finished third and first respectively in the NCAA Mountain Regional Meet at the University of New Mexico Saturday. By winning their race, the women's team automatically qualified for nationals, and the men's team received an at-large bid for the national meet.
Kip Kangogo, BYU's top runner, came into the race with a hamstring strain and was not able to defend his unbeaten record, but BYU's other runners stepped up to the challenge. "Kip started off strong, but half way through the race his leg started bothering him and he had to let off," Eyestone said. "It would have been easy for him to throw in the towel, but he gutted it out. It really shows the team aspect of cross country."
Coach Eyestone said the key was that BYU's top five runners finished within 14 seconds of each other, with Lewis Jones finished first for BYU. Jones said, "I got a little nervous when I saw Kip lagging, and I knew we had to pick up the slack. It is a good feeling to know we're a quality team that can pick up the slack of our top guy."
Jones attributed their success to Coach Eyestone's focus on strength training. This was the first 10K race of the season, but Jones said the Cougars were ready for it.
The women's race came down to a photo finish between BYU's Michaela Mannova and NAU's Ida Nilsson. The two were shoulder-to-shoulder for the last 400 meters, but Mannova was able to push ahead for the win with a time of 30:31. "You just have to stay your ground," Mannova said. "But if the race was 20 meters longer I might have finished second."
BYU women's head coach Patrick Shane said it was their best overall race of the year, but they are still planning on improving. "I'm very optimistic going into nationals," he said. "It's where we want to be. We have seven women all running well, and we don't have a weakness."
Katie Martin, who finished seventh overall and third for the Cougars, said she was confident the team would finish close together. "I could see Michaela and Kassi ahead of me, and I knew the others weren't far behind."
Kassi Andersen finished second for BYU and third overall. She was followed by Martin, Jaime Cottle in eighth place and Breanne Sandberg in 10th place.
It was a winding but flat course, and the weather was a sunny 40 degrees. The Cougar men's and women's teams will next compete at the NCAA National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., November 25.
|Mountain Regaionals 6K Women's Team Results|
|2||University of Colorado||66|
|4||Colorado State University||99|
|5||Weber State University||105|
|7||Montana State University||219|
|9||University of Utah||235|
|Mountain Region Women's Individual Results|
|4||Sara Gorton||University of Colorado||20:39|
|5||Holly Austin||University of Colorado||20:42|
|9||Natalie Florence||University of Colorado||21:20|
|Mountain Regaionals 6K Men's Team Results|
|2||University of Colorado||93|
|7||University of New Mexico||186|
|9||University of Utah||214|
|Mountain Region Men's Individual Results|
|1||Jorge Torres||University of Colorado||29:33|
|2||Antony Ford||University of Montana||30:11|
|3||Edwardo Torres||University of Colorado||30:22|
|4||Lyle Weese||Montana State||30:22|
|8||Matt Gonzales||University of New Mexico||30:36|
|9||Delfino Arevalo||University of Utah||30:36|
|10||Casey Jermyn||Montana State||30:38|
|BYU Men's Finishers|
PROVO -- BYU women's and men's cross country teams will travel to Albuquerque, N.M., this weekend to compete in the NCAA Mountain Regional Meet. The women's 6K race will be Saturday at 10 a.m. and the men's 10K race will start at 11:15 a.m.
The women's team is led by redshirt-freshman Kassi Andersen and All-American Michaela Mannova. The men are led by transfer Kip Kangogo, who has placed first in every race this season. Both team won their respective Mountain West Conference titles. Last year at the regional meet, the women placed first and the men placed third. The women went on to finish first in the nation and the men finished 12th.
The regional meet determines which teams will compete at the NCAA Nationals Meet. The top two teams and four individual finishers in each region will automatically earn a spot at nationals. The other teams will hope to get an at-large bid according to the NCAA criteria.
The meet will be at the University of New Mexico's North Golf Course and tickets are free. There will be 17 men's teams and 18 women's teams competing.