OGDEN -- Even after running on a wet course with some of the best competition in the nation, the Cougars women's and men's cross country teams placed first and fourth respectively in the NCAA Mountain Regional Cross Country meet at Weber State's Riverside Golf Course Saturday Nov. 15th.
Beside several individual personal records that were set on the Riverside Golf Course, the Cougars had ten individuals honored to the NCAA All-Mountain team and will advance to the National Championship Nov. 24th in Cedar Fall, Iowa.
"This is the best race we have had as a team by far this year," women's head coach Patrick Shane said.
Finally the Cougars accomplished their season goal--to make it to nationals healthy. The final component of this goal was reached as Kassi Anderson joined the women's team with a strong run and the men ran well to position themselves for an at-large bid to nationals.
"With Kassi back running strong our potential is finally being reached," Shane said. "Without Kassi we are a running as the third or fourth team in the nation, but with her we actually have a shot at winning nationals."
Kassi said all she wanted to do was get back and be healthy again so she could be in a position to help the team out.
"I was a little nervous running since this was the second race I have ran in this season," Andersen said, "but I felt good the whole way. I am confident and pumped for nationals."
In addition to Kassi's top performance, the women's team had strong finishes by both first place winners Michaela Mannova, who placed first at regionals last year, and third place finisher Laura Turner.
"Because of their hard preparation they both had the best race of their lives," Shane said. "Our top five runners really ran well today."
On the men's side, they performed well in what has been termed the top cross country region in the nation. Facing No. 10 BYU was No. 3 Colorado, No. 5 Northern Arizona University and No. 8 Air Force.
"We did really well considering that we had four Top 10 teams racing here today," men's head coach Ed Eyestone said. "We did exactly what we needed to do. The goal was to get to nationals without doing anything to ourselves and we will."
After the men's strong finish and top five finish the Cougars expect to be the second team invited to nationals on an at-large bid.
"We knew coming into this meet that we had good competition here," Eyestone said. "We also knew that we could be in the top five and get into nationals as long as the top teams finished well. They all did and so now it is just a matter of an invitation."
Junior Kip Kangogo contributed to BYU's finish with his second place 30:47 run.
"I was racing Dathan Ritzenhein the top runner in the nation," Kangogo said. "It was a fight for the finish and I ran well so I feel good about what happened."
Coach Eyestone said that he was priming his team for nationals and so he expects his men to be stronger there.
"I expect Kip and Dathan will have a rematch at nationals," Eyestone said. "And I expect them to go tooth and nails at nationals."
Both teams said they are ready for nationals and will take this week to make final preparations before heading to Cedar Fall, Iowa for the NCAA National competition.
ADDITIONAL MEET NOTES:
- Senior All-American Laura Turner reached a new personal record.
- Sophomore All-American Kassi Andersen ran in her second race of the season.
- The women's team won an automatic bid to Nationals.
- Coach Eyestone expects the men will be the second team to contend for an at-large bid to nationals.
- The women's team won last years Mountain Regionals and the men placed third.
- Mannova repeated her performance at last year's regionals by winning first place.
- NCAA All Mountain Region Honors:
o Kip Kangogo
o Bryan Lindsay
o Chad Durham
o Nathan Robison
o Michaela Mannova
o Laura Turner
o Kassi Andersen
o Breanne Sandberg
o Lisa Antonelli
o Rena Williams
NCAA Mt. Region XC Champs
Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course
November 15, 2003
Women's 6K Team Results
1.Brigham Young University34
2.University of Colorado67
3.Colorado State University104
4.Northern Arizona University111
6.University of Nevada169
7.Weber State University222
8.Utah State University247
9.Southern Utah University255
10.University of Texas at El Paso272
11.Montana State University297
14.Air Force Academy329
1.311Michaela MannovaJr.1.Brigham Young University20:33.81.
2.331Ida NilssonJr.1.Northern Arizona University20:47.82.
3.313Laura TurnerJr.2.Brigham Young University20:53.43.
4.322Renee MetivierJr.1.University of Colorado21:05.44.
5.312Kassi AndersenJr.3.Brigham Young University21:09.25.
6.332Johanna NilssonSo.2.Northern Arizona University21:17.06.