BYU cross country sweeps WCC Championships for third consecutive year
LAS VEGAS – BYU cross country won the West Coast Conference men’s and women’s titles at the 2020 WCC Cross Country Championships at Craig Ranch Regional Park on Wednesday.
The BYU men’s team scored 25 points on its way to its first-place finish while the women’s team finished with 28 points to secure the women’s title. The men’s squad has now won six conference titles in a row and the women’s squad has claimed the last three.
In a meet that featured five nationally ranked teams, the No. 1 BYU men’s cross country team defeated No. 8 Portland while the No. 2 BYU women’s cross country team beat No. 25 Portland and No. 30 San Francisco.
BYU Men’s Cross Country Recap
All-American Conner Mantz won the men’s individual title for the second consecutive year with a time of 22:54.4. The junior was one of six Cougars that finished in the top 10 of the men’s 8K. The win marks the second individual victory of the season for Mantz and the sixth first-place finish of his collegiate career.
“Conner Mantz is a grinder and he’s not intimidated by having guys running with him late in the race,” said BYU head coach Ed Eyestone. “He’s found another gear that he can go to, to get the victory. It’s always inspiring to have a guy up front who we know is going to get the job done and I think that gives confidence to the other guys as well.”
All-Americans Casey Clinger (23:05.9) and Brandon Garnica (23:25.8) took third and fifth place, respectively, to give BYU three runners in the top five. Elijah Armstrong (23:29.9) placed seventh overall while Aidan Troutner (23:43.4) and Ethan Cannon (23:44.5) went 9-10 to round out the top 10.
“It was a very nice performance by the team overall,” Eyestone said. “We had a nice grouping upfront with Conner Mantz and Casey Clinger setting the tone. It was a great thing for Elijah Armstrong to run with Brandon Garnica because the two were able to power through together as the race went on.”
All-American Clayson Shumway (23:51.8) crossed next for the Cougars, placing 15th overall. Easton Allred (23:59.6) finished 17th, Connor Weaver (24:17.2) placed 20th and Adam Wood (24:30.8) rounded out the squad at 24th.
BYU Women’s Cross Country Recap
Aubrey Frentheway (20:04.4) and Anna Camp-Bennet (20:12.7) went 2-3 to lead the Cougars to victory in the women’s 6K. Sara Musselman (20:28.1) took fifth place and McKenna Lee (20:41.1) placed 7th overall to give the Cougars four in the top 10.
“It was a good day overall,” said BYU associate director of cross country/track & field Diljeet Taylor. “We had some people step up when we needed them to, and the women got it done. Now, it’s time to put our heads down and work hard for the next few weeks.”
Haley Johnston (20:48.6) finished 11th and Anna Martin (20:54.0) crossed 13th overall. Lexy Halladay (21:13.1) and Rachel Morrin (21:16.7) went 15-16. Kaela Cleary placed 20th (21:37.7) and Caroline McLeskey (21:55.4) rounded out BYU’s 10 runners at 26th overall.
BYU cross country will compete Monday, March 15 at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. The meet will take place at the Oklahoma State University Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Details for this meet will be released at a later date.
BYU men’s cross country had five athletes receive 2022 NCAA Division I All-Academic honors, the U.S. Track & Field…