Men Defend Title, Women Second
ALBUQUERQUE -- For the fourth time in as many years, BYU's men's cross country team won the Mountain West Conference title, outdistancing host New Mexico by five points on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Colorado State ended BYU's 19-year reign in the women's conference race, winning by six points in the 6K race. No. 12 CSU tallied 33 points, followed by BYU with 39, New Mexico 94, Wyoming 118, Utah 130, Air Force 160, UNLV 204, TCU 204 and San Diego State 229.
Ed Eyestone of BYU was named MWC Coach of the Year as his team was led by seniors Dustin Bybee, Chandler Goodwin and sophomore Tyrel Jensen. Bybee finished third in the 8K race with a time of 24:55, Goodwin was fifth in 25:00 and Jensen placed seventh in 25:03.
BYU's men totaled 46 points for first, followed by UNM at 51, Air Force 52, CSU 105, Wyoming 118 and TCU 167 at the University of New Mexico North Golf Course.
UNM's Jeremy Johnson led the entire race, fending off Wyoming's Mark Korir and TCU's Festus Kign through the first half of the race. Johnson clocked a 24:23, while Korir placed second in 24:48.
"It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win," said Eyestone. "Tyrel Jensen is our consummate sixth or seventh man and to see him finish third for us is great. We can't afford to run poorly from here on out."
CSU's April Thomas trailed BYU sophomore Katie Bowen for much of the race, but Thomas pulled ahead in the final 1K for a time of 21:20. CSU teammate Kirsten Anthony followed in 21:22. Bowen was third in 21:28, followed by freshman teammate Angela Wagner in 21:33 in fourth.
"It will happen some time to everyone," said Patrick Shane, BYU's women's coach, regarding the end of a 19-year run as conference champion. "I'm not happy about it, but I am happy about how our athletes put in all on the line. Hats off to Colorado State. It was the closest we have been to CSU all year."
Bowen and Wagner were passed in the latter part of the race by Anthony, who propelled CSU into the lead. Bowen and Wagner were named to the MWC First Team, while teammates Tawny Bybee, Cecily Lemmon, Jenna Jensen and Amber Duffin were named to the MWC Second Team.
For BYU's men, Dustin Bybee, Goodwin and Tyrel Jensen made the MWC First Team, while teammate Derek Taylor made the second team.
BYU junior Stephan Shay was pulled from the race around the 5K mark and did not finish the men's race.
"He has had a bad back the past month," said Eyestone of Shay, who had been one of the top Cougar runners all season. "You don't know how it's going to be until about a mile in and I could tell it was hurting him, to I pulled him."
"Our team stepped up when we needed to," said Dustin Bybee. "Brandon (Hebbert), Chandler (Goodwin) and I worked well together today. It was kind of fun to have Chandler at my side to help each other out."
Bowen echoed Dustin Bybee's comments about working with teammates.
"It was great running with Angela (Wagner), it made me feel a lot like we were running in practice," said Bowen.
The venue was changed from San Diego to Albuquerque earlier this week because of the wildfire tragedy in California. BYU's women had finished first in its conference since 1981 except for 1987 when it finished second. The Cougar men have finished first in conference races since 1989, except for second placings in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 2003.
Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships, Albuquerque, N.M.
Men's Team Scores
2-New Mexico 51
3-Air Force 52
4-Colorado St. 105
1-Jeremy Johnson, UNM, 24:23
2-Mark Korir, Wyoming, 24:48
3-Dustin Bybee, BYU, 24:55
4-Matt Williams, AFA, 24:27
5-Chandler Goodwin, BYU, 25:00
Other BYU men's places/times
7-Tyrel Jensen, BYU, 25:03
14-Derek Taylor, BYU 14, 25:27
17-Jacob Gustafsson, BYU, 25:34
19-Ryan Merriamn, BYU, 25:36
21-Brandon Hebbert, BYU 25:52
DNP-Stephan Shay, BYU
DNR-Dan Hinckley, BYU
Women's Team Scores
1-Colorado St. 33
3-New Mexico 94
6-Air Force 160
9-San Diego St. 229
1-April Thomas, CSU, 21:20
2-Kirsten Anthony, CSU, 21:22
3-Katie Bowen, BYU, 21:28
4-Angela Wagner, BYU, 21:33
5-Michelle Corrigan, UNM, 21:35
Other BYU women's places/times
9-Tawny Bybee, BYU, 21:50
11-Cecily Lemmon, BYU, 21:54
12-Amber Duffin, BYU, 21:56
13-Jenna Jensen, BYU, 22:03
21-Amy Fowler Layne, BYU, 22:42
Same Race, Different Place
PROVO -- Wildfires in the San Diego area have forced the location of Saturday's 2007 Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships to be moved from San Diego to Albuquerque, N. M.
The event was scheduled to be at Mission Bay Park, but the fires in the area have created poor air quality. The race will instead be held at the University of New Mexico North Golf Course. The men's race will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. MST, and the women's race will follow at 11 a.m.
Despite the change of venue, both BYU teams are preparing to defend their MWC titles.
The No. 17-ranked women's team has won 24 of the last 25 conference championships, including when BYU was part of the Western Athletic Conference. The team won 19 straight championships.
Angela Wagner and Katie Bowen have proven to be the women's one-two punch this season, with both runners leading the team in various events. Wagner, a freshman from Pretoria, South Africa, led all Cougars at the BYU Autumn Classic and Pre-Nationals. Wagner earned MWC Athlete of the Week honors for her 17:51.9 5K race at the BYU Autumn Classic. Bowen, a sophomore from Alpine, Utah, led the team at the Bill Dellinger Invitation in Eugene, Ore., with a 6K time of 20:31.
With only 26 seconds separating Wagner and the rest of the team at Pre-Nationals, head coach Patrick Shane says running in a tight group will be crucial at the championships.
"The whole team has come together remarkably well," Shane said. "I'm so impressed with the strong team unity and the sense of oneness as a team this year."
Tough competition faces the Cougar women at the MWC Championships as No. 12 Colorado State is ranked above them. Colorado State is ranked No. 1 in the Mountain Region, with the Cougars following close behind in second.
"It's really a matter or resting," Shane said of the key to success against Colorado State. "We've rested a significant amount before this meet, and I think that's going to give us a boost. I'm sure Colorado State is doing the same, so it's going to be a fun race."
The men's team, ranked 26th nationally, won the past three MWC Championships, with a total of 13 in the past 20 years.
Leading the men's team are junior Stephan Shay and senior Chandler Goodwin. The two roommates have gelled since Shay transferred from Michigan State early this year. Shay's top races include second-place finishes at the BYU Autumn Classic and the Dave Murray Invitational. A MWC Player of the Week honored followed his performance at the BYU Autumn Classic. Goodwin finished 13th at the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational and eighth at the BYU Autumn Classic.
The Cougar men are ranked No. 4 in the Mountain Region, with MWC foe Air Force closely behind at the No. 6 spot.