OGDEN -- Both the women's and men's BYU cross country teams qualified for nationals with solid team performances at the NCAA Mountain Regional Championships on Saturday.
A ninth-place finish by freshman Angela Wagner, and an 11th-place finish by senior Chandler Goodwin, helped punch the tickets to nationals for their respective teams. The women finished third and the men finished fourth. Both teams will receive at-large bids into the NCAA Championships at Terre Haute, Ind, on Nov. 19.
For the men, it was more than just another race at regionals. Junior transfer Stephan Shay, the Cougars' top runner, suffered a number of setbacks before the race, inspiring all of the BYU runners. Last weekend, Shay's older brother collapsed and passed away at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. In memory of Shay's brother, the team wore wristbands with the words 'believe in yourself' inscribed on them, the last words uttered by Shay's older brother. Then on Friday night, the night before regionals, Shay came down with food poisoning, keeping him on the sidelines for the race.
"There were times in this race when I looked down at the band and that inspired me," Goodwin said. "This week has really been an emotional one, and I think we ran inspired today."
BYU coach Ed Eyestone was impressed with how his team rallied around a teammate.
"I think we did what we needed to do to qualify for nationals and give Stephan a chance to run again this year," Eyestone said.
Colorado (47), UTEP (56) and Northern Arizona (84), all ranked in the top five nationally, took the top three spots with BYU (113) not far behind.
Goodwin led a pack of runners behind a few of the leaders for most of the race with sophomore Brandon Hebbert bringing up the back of the small pack. After the 1K mark Goodwin was in 11th place, a spot he would keep all the way to the finish line. The team rallied behind Goodwin and Hebbert's consistent running, notching a trip to nationals.
"One through seven this probably isn't the most talented team, but they've fought as hard as any team I've coached," Eyestone said.
Mountain West Conference foe Colorado State took home the women's title with 75 points, followed by Northern Arizona (81), BYU (90), Colorado (105) and Texas Tech (113).
"We ran a real strong team race today," said BYU women's coach Patrick Shane. "I was really impressed with the race that Cecily Lemmon ran today. She really stepped it up today and ran the race of her life."
Lemmon, a redshirt freshman from Vacaville, Calif., finished the 6K race with a time of 21:16.5, good for second place for the Cougars and 12th overall. Sophomore Katie Bowen, who has been alternating with Wagner at the No. 1 spot all year, didn't have the race she wanted.
Bowen and Wagner shuffled between sixth and 10th place through the first half of the race, but Lemmon came on strong in the final 3K.
"Katie Bowen, one of our top runners, really struggled today," Shane said. "We have a week to get her back to her normal self."
The BYU women have won four national championships, in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2002 (Terre Haute). Last year at the NCAA National Championships, the BYU women finished 22nd.
2007 Men's NCAA Mountain Region Championships
Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course
November 10, 2007
3.Northern Arizona 84
5.New Mexico 125
6.Air Force 158
7.Weber State 170
8.Utah State 253
10.Montana State 278
11.Texas Tech 287
12.Southern Utah 305
13.Colorado St. 315
14.Idaho State 326
1. Lopez Lomong, Northern Arizona 29:52.1
2. Stephen Samoei, UTEP 29:54.5
3. Jeremy Johnson, New Mexico 29:57.0
4. Patrick Mutai, UTEP 30:14.3
5. Mark Korir, Wyoming 30:15.8
6. Stephen Pifer, Colorado 30:28.3
7. Brent Vaughn, Colorado 30:29.2
8. Kenyon Neuman, Colorado 30:29.9
9. Jon Cardenas, Northern Arizona 30:34.2
10. Morten Bostrom, Northern Arizona 30:40.9
11. Chandler Goodwin, BYU 30:45.2
12. Bradley Harkrader, Colorado 30:48.0
13. Seth Pilkington, Weber State 30:49.8
14. Chris Pannone, Colorado 30:53.3
15. Nicodemus Ng'etich, UTEP 30:55.8
16. Brandon Hebbert, BYU 30:56.8
2007 Women's NCAA Mountain Region Championships
1.Colorado St. 75
2.Northern Arizona 81
5.Texas Tech 113
6.New Mexico 202
7.Weber State 251
8.Utah State 260
13.Montana State 308
14.Southern Utah 334
16.Air Force 389
17.Idaho State 447
1. Sally Kipyego, Texas Tech 19:29.4
2. Jenny Barringer, Colorado 19:43.9
3. Ilsa Paulson, Northern Arizona 20:34.8
4. Irene Kimaiyo, Texas Tech 20:57.2
5. April Thomas, Colorado St. 21:00.0
6. Sara Vaughn, Colorado 21:00.2
7. Sariah Long, Weber State 21:06.2
8. Gladys Kipsang, Texas Tech 21:10.7
9. Angela Wagner, BYU 21:12.1
10. Gretchen Fagley-Johnson, Wyoming 21:13.3
11. Lesley Van Miert, Northern Arizona 21:13.8
12. Cecily Lemmon, BYU 21:16.5
13. Erin Marston, Colorado 21:17.4
14. Amanda Griggs, Northern Arizona 21:20.5
15. Kirsten Anthony, Colorado St. 21:21.5