Collindale Golf Course
1441 East Horsetooth Road Fort Collins CO 80525
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Freshman Natalie Shields led the BYU women’s cross country team to a seventh-place finish at the Mountain Region Championships on a clear day this weekend in Colorado.
“Clearly, we have a young team that has a lot of potential,” head coach Patrick Shane said. “We ran a good race, but it is going to take experience to help us get to where we need to be. Shields ran a solid race, and Sowards ran one of the best races of her life.”
Shields finished first for BYU, 14th overall and second among freshmen overall in 21:04.1. Shields was followed by Lindsey Sowards Nielson (21:18.0), who finished second for BYU and 25th overall. Michaelanne Laurent (21:45.0) finished third for BYU and 46th overall.
Due to their top-25 finish, Shields and Nielson earned first-team all-region honors.
Because the Cougars did not finish in the top two as a team, they did not qualify for the national meet. Shields was the only member of the team to come close to qualifying for Nationals individually, but narrowly missed the cutoff.
Despite not finishing the season where he and his team wanted, Shane looks forward to the next few years to build his young athletes into the types of runners he knows they can become.
“Looking forward, we need to stay healthy,” Shane said. “We have two runners on our team who did not compete at all this year due to injury. They are just as good of runners as Natalie [Shields] is. Because we had the best recruiting class we’ve ever had, we are only going to get better. Over the next few years, this team is going to take on an identity they didn’t have this year.”
Full results from the Mountain Region Championships can be found here.
Mountain Region Championships preview
PROVO, Utah – The women’s cross country team competes at the Mountain Region Championships this Friday in Fort Collins, Colo., for one last chance at qualifying for Nationals.
“If we want any chance of making it to Nationals, we need to beat Colorado this weekend,” head coach Patrick Shane said. “We can do it, but it will be tough. They haven’t been out of the top two in our region in years. Of the runners on our team, only two of them have any experience running at Nationals. We have a young team, but they know what they have to do to come out on top.”
In the most recent Mountain Region rankings, Weber State is ranked No. 1 followed by New Mexico and Colorado as No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. BYU is currently ranked No. 6 behind Colorado State and Southern Utah.
During the West Coast Conference Championships, BYU finished third with 85 points behind San Francisco and Portland. The Cougars were led by Freshman Natalie Shields’ fourth-place overall finish. All of the Cougars’ five scoring runners finished in the top-22 individually.
Rachel Stewart finished second for BYU and 18th overall. Lindsey Sowards Nielson, Darby and Laurent finished third, fourth and fifth for the Cougars and 21st, 22nd and 23rd overall, respectively. All five runners are also set for this weekend’s race at regionals.
The women’s race will begin at 12 p.m. MT at Collindale Golf Course.
Collindale Golf Course is familiar territory for BYU and does not have any difficult or unique features about it. In the past the two obstacles the team has faced in Colorado are a slight change in altitude and cold weather.
CSU will be live tweeting from @CSURAMSTRACK.
More information for the Mountain Region Championships can be found on Colorado State's Athletic website.
Full results can be found at Runnercard following the race.