BELMONT, Calif.--The BYU men’s cross country team finished first, with Miles Batty finishing first overall, and the women finished second as the Cougars made their debut at the West Coast Conference Championships on Saturday.
In their first year in the WCC, the men were able to defeat the Portland Pilots, a team that had won 32-consecutive conference championships. The Cougars finished with 25 points, with Portland finishing in second with 32, and the next closest score being San Francisco with 119.
“It was a good day for us,” men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We knew that Portland was going to be tough. I had confidence in my team and I’m very happy with our depth. I think that sets us up well going into our regional.”
Senior Miles Batty has now won two consecutive conference championships in two different conferences, finishing first overall in the 8K, with an impressive time of 23:47. Batty’s time of 23:47 shattered the old course record, formerly held by Portland’s Alfred Kipchumba – who ran a 24:20 in 2009.
“It feels great to come out of here with a win,” Batty told WCCsports.com after the race. “It’s our first year [in the WCC] and we started out on the right foot. It’s great to walk out of here with a team championship and an individual title.”
Along with the meet, six Cougars were named to the 2011 Men’s Cross Country All-West Coast Conference Team. Batty,Shields, Ward, Bahr, Thatcher and Jason Witt were named to the all-conference team, along with four runners from Portland, while Steve Flint garnered honorable mention and also won the WCC Freshman of the Year award.
Coach Eyestone was also named the WCC Coach of the Year.
There was a strong team effort from the Cougars, as all finished in the top twenty. Again, Morgan Haws led the Cougars, finishing first for the Cougars and third overall in the 6K, with a time of 20:38. Katy Andrews and Stephanie Jensen-Bills also finished strong taking second and third for BYU and fourth and 14th overall.
Haws and Andrews were named to the 2011 Women's Cross Country All-West Coast Conference Team, with Jensen-Bills and Candace Eddy being named honorable mention. Freshman Sarah Darby was also named the WCC Freshman of the Year.
The Cougars now look forward to Mountain Region Championships, which will be held in Provo at the East Bay Golf Course on Nov. 12.