Teams Represent BYU Well at Nationals
TERRE HAUTE -- Strongly considered among the nation’s top running programs, the BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams had strong finishes to the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships hosted by Indiana State University.
The No. 5 BYU men’s team came in 17th place overall in the men’s 10K race while the No. 19 women fittingly arrived in 19th place in the women’s 6K.
“We are happy to have finished among the nation’s top 20 programs,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “I’m proud of the effort our team displayed to pull off a solid race with all of the competition involved. It was one of our goals, especially with a young team, to do this well to represent the university and our program on a national level.”
Junior Cecily Lemmon-Lew led the Cougars with a 10th-place finish overall in a field of 216 runners with a 6K time of 20:12. Her top-30 finish in the race allowed her to garner NCAA All-America honors.
“It feels good to perform well at this type of race with so many good runners,” Lemmon-Lew said. “I was excited that the team did well and that we performed like this in a tough race. Everyone stepped up and had fun, so we’re happy we did better than we have the last three years.”
Running in her last collegiate cross country race, senior Angela Wagner rose to the occasion, coming in 83rd place in 21:19. Freshman Nicole Nielsen arrived in 96th overall, while Rachel Lange (131) and Katy Andrews (150) also performed well. Sarah Edwards and Whitney McDonald had solid finishes to round up the roster for the Cougars.
“I’m very pleased with the team today and thought that they gave it their best shot,” Shane said. “Cecily’s deserves her All-America status and everyone performed well to get the job done.”
No. 2 Villanova won the team championship with 86 points followed by No. 8 Florida State (133) and No. 1 Washington (188). Illinois’ Angela Bizzarri won the individual championship with a time of 19:46. Mountain West foe New Mexico came in 13th place.
No. 5 BYU Men’s Team
Having finished ninth place at the 2008 national championship, the BYU men’s team was hoping for another top-10 finish but fell just short of the goal by coming in 17th place overall with 468 points.
“It wasn’t our best day but I think that overall our guys gave it their best effort and went hard at it to finish strong,” said BYU men’s cross country head coach Ed Eyestone. “Like everyone, our team has been battling injuries and illnesses the past few weeks and I think it caught up to a few of the guys. We’re still content with a top-20 performance but were hoping for a little bit more.”
Senior Richard Nelson displayed leadership by crossing the finish line first for the team in 50th place overall with a 10K time of 30:34. Sophomore Tommy Gruenewald came in 54th place just seconds later followed by Nate Ogden (87), Miles Batty (137) and Brandon Hebbert (140). Ryan Merriman and Alden Bahr also performed well for the team.
“Nelson gave a great effort today and really stepped up for us,” Eyestone said. “Hebbert’s been battling injuries for a little while now and hobbled to the finish line and Batty was sick on and off this past week. Our guys ran hard and we’re pleased with a top-20 performance at a national competition.”
No. 2 Oklahoma State won the team championship with 127 points followed by No.8 Oregon (143) and No. 3 Alabama (173). Liberty’s Sam Chelanga broke a course record to finish with a time of 28:41, 25 seconds ahead of Northern Arizona’s David McNeill, the Mountain Regional champion. MWC foe New Mexico finished in eighth place.
Off to the NCAA Championships
PROVO -- Looking to maintain their reputations as national powerhouse programs, the No. 5 BYU men’s and No. 19 women’s cross country teams will compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday, Nov. 23, in Terre Haute, Ind.
The men’s 10K race will begin at approximately 10 a.m. MT while the women’s 6K begins at 11 a.m. MT. Both can be seen on the Versus network or streamed online via NCAA.com. Indiana State University will host the event at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center.
Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in both the men’s and women’s championships. The top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions, for a total of 18 teams. Thirteen additional teams were selected at-large.
No. 19 BYU Women’s Cross Country
The four-time national champion women’s team is excited for the opportunity to return to the national championship after failing to qualify as a team in 2008. The Cougars earned the bid following its third-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional and earned enough at-large points during the course of the season to get in.
“It’s an honor to make it to nationals and we are thrilled with the opportunity,” said BYU women’s cross country head coach Patrick Shane. “We’re looking forward to the challenge and to see how good we really are on a national level.”
Led by junior MWC Athlete of the Year Cecily Lemmon-Lew, the team will travel with Angela Wagner, Katy Andrews, Nicole Nielsen, Rachel Lange, Sarah Edwards and Whitney McDonald along with alternates Ashlee Thomas and Sarah Yingling. McDonald will make her 2009 debut as she has sat out most of the season with an injury.
“It’s important that the girls get out quickly right from the beginning because there are so many runners,” said assistant coach Chris Shane. “They have trained hard to do well and finish the season strong. If they run together, we have a good chance of doing very well at this meet.”
Washington, Villanova, Princeton, Oregon, Florida and Colorado are the nation’s highest ranked programs going into the national championships.
No. 5 BYU Men’s Cross Country
The BYU men’s team is headed to its 11th straight NCAA Championship after earning an automatic bid from their first-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional. With the strong regional mark, the Cougars shot back up to a No. 5 national ranking from the No. 14 spot.
BYU came in ninth place at the 2008 Championships and hope to improve on that mark in this year’s event.
“The field of runners will be tough as always and we’ll need to do as well as we did at regionals if we’re going to attain our goal of being a top-four program,” said BYU men’s head coach Ed Eyestone. “The course itself is very tough with a lot of hills, so we’ll need to be at full strength and completely healthy in order to perform as we’d like.”
Sophomore Miles Batty is expected to once again lead the charge for the Cougars with Richard Nelson, Tommy Gruenewald, Nate Ogden, Brandon Hebbert, Alden Bahr and Ryan Merriman following close behind.
Stanford, Oklahoma State, Alabama, and Portland are expected to compete with the Cougars for the national championship while Colorado, William and Mary, Oregon and Syracuse are also highly ranked going into the event.
“If we run together and perform to the best of our ability, we might find ourselves on the podium after the meet,” Eyestone said.