OGDEN , Utah (Nov. 11, 2000) Senior Sharolyn Shields-Thayer finished in fourth place overall for the BYU women's team, and junior John Hedengren recorded a seventh-place finish on the men's side as the Cougars finihsed second in both races at the Mountain Region Cross Country Championships. Both BYU teams will move on to the Nov. 20 NCAA Championships, as the top two teams in each region automatically qualify for the national meet.
Coming into the race, the Cougar women were the No. 1 team in the country and the defending Region Champion. But with three of their top seven runners resting up for nationals, and a strong showing from No. 5 Colorado, including an individual championship from last year's winner Kara Wheeler, BYU settled for a runner-up finish. The Cougars still managed to place three runners in the top ten in the 6K race. Following Shields-Thayer (21:31.1), sophomore Sarah Ellett (21:32.5) and senior Melanie Steere (21:35.8) came through in sixth and ninth place, respectively, to give BYU a solid score.
Colorado won the men's race as well. But No. 7 BYU improved on last year's third-place finish, and surprised No. 5 Northern Arizona to earn a return trip to the NCAA Championships. Hedengren covered the 10K course in 31 minutes, 13.7 seconds. He was followed by freshman Josh Rohatinsky (31:41.1) and sophomore Lewis Jones (31:56.1) who both cracked the top twenty-five, finishing in 15th and 24th place, respectively.
The Cougars now turn their focus to Ames, Iowa, site of the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The BYU women's team is the defending national champion, and the men's team will look to make a run at the top five, erasing a disappointing finish at last year's national meet. The NCAA Championships will be run on Monday, Nov. 20, with the women's 6,000-meter race set to get under way at 11 a.m. and the men's 10,000-meter race to follow at 12:15 p.m.
For complete results of the Mountain Regional, go to http://www.runnercard.com
-- BYU --
Women's 6,000 meters
1. Colorado 38
2. Brigham Young 50
3. Colorado State 102
4. Weber State 105
5. Montana 160
4. Sharolyn Shields-Thayer 21:31.1
6. Sarah Ellett 21:32.5
9. Melanie Steere 21:35.8
13. Tara Northcutt 21:41.6
22. Amy Bair 22:18.9
24. Devra Vierkant 22:21.7
Men's 10,000 meters
1. Colorado 38
2. Brigham Young 110
3. Northern Arizona 128
4. Weber State 150
5. Colorado State 152
7. John Hedengren 31:13.7
15. Josh Rohatinsky 31:41.1
24. Lewis Jones 31:56.1
30. Dula Parkinson 32:04.0
34. Golden Harper 32:13.7
49. Andy Carman 32:42.8
54. Ben Wynn 32:54.4
The BYU cross country teams will make a short trip north to Ogden, Utah, to compete in the NCAA Mountain Region Championships. The women's team will be defending their Region title from a year ago, while the men's team looks to improve on last year's third-place finish.
At the 1999 Mountain Regional, the BYU women scored 20 points to win the race. After Colorado's Kara Wheeler crossed the line in first place, the Cougar pride came through the chute, with all five scorers finishing in a four second spread, taking the 2nd through 6th places.
This year, the Cougar women enter the race with the No. 1 ranking in the country, a spot they claimed two weeks ago after winning the Pre-national Invitational. Looking to challenge BYU will be fifth-ranked Colorado, No. 15 Colorado State and No. 17 Weber State. At the Pre-national meet, the Buffaloes finished fifth, while the Rams and the Wildcats finished in 10th and 11th place, respectively.
The BYU men's team finished third last year in a race that sent three at-large qualifiers to the NCAA Championships, in addition to the two automatic qualifying teams. John Hedengren finished fourth to lead the way for the Cougars.
Coming into the 2000 Regional meet, Colorado holds the No. 1 spot in the national poll. Northern Arizona is ranked No. 5, and BYU is close behind in the No. 7 spot. Other top-25 teams in the Mountain Region include No. 14 Weber State and No. 22 Colorado State.
The Mountain Region Championships will be held Saturday at the Riverside Golf Course in Riverdale, Utah. The women's 6K race is set for an 11:00 am start, with the men's 10K race to follow at 12:00 noon.
For more information on the meet, go to: