BYU cross country secures first and fourth at the Pre-National Invitational
MADISON, Wis. – The BYU men’s cross country team, led by Rory Linkletter, finished in first place and the women’s team took fourth place at the Pre-National Invitational Saturday in Madison Wisconsin.
The No. 2 BYU men’s team scored 29 points for a first-place finish ahead of 34 other schools, including No. 4 Portland, No. 8 Syracuse and No. 10 Air Force. The No. 9 women’s team finished fourth with 175 points and a victory over No. 1 Colorado, No. 13 NC State and No. 18 Ole Miss.
The women competed in the 6K Cardinal race followed by the men who ran in the 8K White race.
Leading up to Pre-Nationals, the men’s and women’s cross country teams had three straight first-place finishes this season at the Autumn Classic, Joe Piane Invitational and Steve T. Reeder Memorial.
"We had a nice day today. I’m proud of the guys. They were well prepared and executed the race to nearly perfection," BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. "It’s always fun to win a big race like Pre-Nationals as a team and also get the individual as well, so we’re happy with that. Rory had a very nice finish at the end to overtake."
All-American Rory Linkletter (23:54.4) led the No. 2 BYU men’s team to victory in the White division with his back-to-back first-place finish at Pre-Nationals. The Cougars claimed three more spots in the top seven, including Conner Mantz (23:55.5) in fourth, Clayson Shumway (23:55.7) in fifth and Connor McMillan (23:56.9) in seventh. Clayton Young (24:03.7) followed in 12th place, with Jacob Heslington (24:10.8) in 20th and Zachry Jacklin (24:41.7) in 53rd.
Along with Linkletter's finish, Eyestone was impressed by Mantz for leading the majority of the race and Shumway's bolt in the last 50 meters to close the gap. Eyestone commented that there was only a nine-second gap between the men's first and fifth runners.
Men’s Team Notables
- The men’s team finished first with a score of 29 points
- This was All-American Rory Linkletter’s second individual championship title after winning the Pre-National Invitational in 2017
- The BYU men’s team claimed four of the top seven spots
- This is the second-consecutive Pre-Nationals first-place finish for the Cougars
Erica Birk-Jarvis led the way for the Cougars, finishing first for the No. 9 women’s team and fourth in the Cardinal race with a career-best time, 20:12.2. This is her third first-place BYU finish this season. Courtney Wayment followed in 13th place (20:29.9) as BYU’s second runner. Anna Camp finished in 44th (21:08.4), with Aubrey Frentheway in 50th (21:12.7), Madelyn Dickson in 64th (21:21.6), Olivia Hoj in 73rd (21:26.4) and McKenna Lee in 77th (21:30.1).
"I was really pleased overall," BYU women's cross country coach Diljeet Taylor said. "We picked up some points for Nationals and the girls got to preview the course and those were our main objectives coming in. We were running without Whittni Orton, so finishing fourth without one of our top runners is really good. Erica and Courtney had great performances today and Anna Camp stepped up huge for us, being our number three runner today."
Taylor said that the women's team will continue to train hard in preparation for the West Coast Conference Championships and eventually, NCAA Championships. She's looking forward to seeing the momentum continue through the rest of the season.
Women’s Team Notables
- The Cougars took fourth in the Cardinal race with 175 points, rising above six other top-25 teams
- All-American Erica Birk-Jarvis finished fourth in the 6K Cardinal race with a career-best time of 20:12.2
After a two-week break, the teams will race back at home in the West Coast Conference Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27.