PROVO, Utah – The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams both came away with wins over Weber State at the Autumn Classic at Clarence F. Robison Track in Provo on Saturday.
BYU’s only home meet of the season proved to be a successful one, with the men’s team taking first place in the four-mile race with a total of 16 points to Weber State’s 46, and the women’s team taking first place in the three-mile race with a total of 19 points to Weber State’s 40.
“I feel really good about this win,” BYU cross country head coach Ed Eyestone said. “It showed that were are a good team. The strategy was to pack it up, run a controlled team race for the first two miles and then push the last couple. Towards the end it was apparent we were going to come close to our goals in terms of having strong people right up at the front.”
Senior captain Nicolas Montanez finished in first in the men’s four-mile race with a time of 20:11.01. He was followed closely by teammates Clayton Young and Rory Linkletter who took second and third paces with times of 20:14.7 and 20:25.8, respectively.
Unattached Brayden McClelland took fourth place by finishing in 20:29.0, and just behind him was Cougar Jonathan Harper who ran a time of 20:29.9. Weber State’s top finisher was Dallin Leatham who took sixth place by running a 20:31.7 race and unattached runner Steve Morrin took seventh with a time of 20:34.2.
“All you can ask for in cross country is a perfect score of 15 points, and we finished with 16,” Eyestone said. “So I thought this race was a really good sign for our team.”
The women’s team saw several Cougar runners in the top 10, including the top finisher, and the home team took first place with 19 points
“We were prepared to put up a good fight coming to this race, knowing that Weber was ranked a couple spots ahead of us nationally,” BYU assistant coach and women’s cross country and distance coach Diljeet Taylor said. “We talked about it as a team and had a really great race plan coming in. The girls executed perfectly. They ran hard and they ran tough, and I am really proud of them.”
Sophomore Erica Burk took first place in the three-mile and won the invite by posting a time of 17:25.7. She was followed by Hailey Whetten of Weber State, who finished in 17:29.1.
Cougars Laura Young, Ashleigh Warner, Yesenia Silva and Kristi Rush took the next four spots in the race, finishing in 17:33.5, 17:40.3, 17:42.3 and 17:57.0, in third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, respectively.
BYU runners Olivia Hoj, Alice Jensen and Courtney Wayment took ninth, 10th and 11th, with Kelsey Braithwaite, Natalie Connolly and Emma Gee taking spots 16, 19 and 23, respectively.
“It is so fun and rewarding to see all that hard work pay off,” Taylor said. “The girls showed me today that they are gamers, and that is huge. They are all in.”
The men’s and women’s teams will travel next to Virginia for the Panorama Farms Invitational on Sept. 23.