MORGAN, Utah – All-American Casey Clinger took first place at the Weber State Invitational to help No. 2 BYU men’s cross country edge out a one-point victory over Weber State at the Round Valley Golf Course on Friday.
The men’s race became a duel between Weber State and BYU after a late positive COVID-19 test from Montana State’s team eliminated them from the competition. The Cougars finished with 28 points to narrowly defeat the Wildcats and their 29 total points.
“Whenever you’re in a duel meet, you need to make sure you man up,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “Even though we may have one of the top runners in the country in Casey Clinger, you can’t make much up due to how few guys are in the field. I thought that our team did a good job, especially considering we didn’t have Conner Mantz or Clayson Shumway. I think it was a good experience because it allowed guys an opportunity to step up in the absence of a couple of stars.”
Clinger separated himself from the rest of the field with a little more than two kilometers left in the 8K. The sophomore cruised to a 23:50.9 finish to claim the individual title. Junior Brandon Garnica took third place with a time of 23:58.2, just fractions of a second behind the second-place finisher.
Sophomore Ethan Cannon placed eighth overall (24:35.1) in his season debut for the Cougars while Freshman Aidan Troutner finished in 10th place (24:44.7). Senior Connor Weaver (24:48.2), junior Adam Wood (25:04.7), junior Zachry Jacklin (25:07.2) and senior Matt Owens (25:08.8) all finished 12-15, respectively. Freshman Stetson Moss placed 17th (25:15.5) in his collegiate debut while sophomore Zack Ericksen finished 19th to round out the BYU runners racing in uniform.
"The two guys who stepped up the most were Brandon Garnica and Ethan Cannon,” Eyestone said. “Garnica came on really strong and we knew that would happen because he is an All-American caliber type of athlete. We made the decision early this week that Ethan would be one of the guys to race this week and he delivered. The fact that he ran as well as he did put us in a place to get the win.”
The Cougars will not race again this fall as they will prepare for the winter portion of the 2020-21 cross country season that begins January 23. The NCAA Cross Country Championships are set to take place on March 15, at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Oklahoma.