Men's Cross Country 2022 Season in Review
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s cross country added yet another historic season to the books, taking third at Nationals and fielding four All-Americans with senior Casey Clinger leading the way.
As anticipated, Clinger took over the distinction from departed Conner Mantz of being the Cougars’ top runner this season. He achieved a remarkable fourth career All-American honors with a seventh-place finish in the 10k (28:58.4) at the Division I NCAA Championships on Nov. 19 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The American Fork native’s performance propelled him to an exclusive club of just two BYU athletes with four All-American honors: Clinger and Conner Mantz.
Prior to joining the prestigious club, Clinger was tied with current head coach Ed Eyestone, Josh Rohatinsky and Rory Linkletter for three All-American honors.
Among Clinger’s additional accomplishments this season include an individual WCC title with resulting All-WCC First Team honors, WCC Men’s Runner of the Week and All-Mountain Region honors.
As a team, the Cougars finished in the top three in all seven races on the season. This included four first-place finishes and an eighth-consecutive WCC title on Oct. 28, the program’s final WCC championship race before entering the Big 12 in 2023.
Early on, it became evident that this team – mostly consisting of local talent – was one of the deepest ever assembled at BYU.
“One of our biggest strengths has been our depth,” said BYU cross country head coach Ed Eyestone. “Our differential has been slim and each of the guys made improvements across the board. Just so proud of the way they’ve prepared and competed.”
Senior Brandon Garnica put together his most complete season as a Cougar, culminating in his first All-American honors with a 21st-place finish (29:21.7) in his fourth Nationals appearance. The seasoned runner also notched a team-high, fifth-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Regional just a week prior to Nationals.
Garnica wraps up his collegiate career having competed in 25 career meets with 14 top-10 placements and three podium finishes. This year marked his fourth consecutive All-WCC First Team selection (2019-22) and second All-Mountain Region selection.
The 2022 season will also be remembered for the breakout performances of sophomore twin brothers, Creed and Davin Thompson. Both claimed their first All-American honors in Stillwater as Davin took 30th and Creed 35th.
From the start, Creed and Davin demonstrated consistency, registering first and second in the Run Elite Classic on Sept. 11. They never crossed the line more than seven spots apart from one another as each totaled five races on the year. The sophomores wrap up an immensely successful season having also earned All-WCC First Team honors for their performance at the conference championship.
The Cougars brought additional power to the program with a transfer portal boost in graduate transfer Christian Allen. The Weber State graduate entered the season with two All-American awards under his belt. Despite battling an illness during the latter half of the season, Allen took home All-WCC First Team honors and was named All-Mountain Region. He rounded out BYU’s top five at Nationals at 47th.
Sophomore Joey Nokes took 10th overall (23:36.1) at the Cowboy Jamboree 8k on Sept. 24 in a race that included 15 schools then ranked in the USTFCCCA’s top-30 poll. His contribution proved important to the Cougars’ first-place performance. The Riverton, Utah native led the team at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational on October 14 with a 23:26.6, 15th-place performance to help cement a second-place team finish behind Stanford. Nokes tallied five top-10 races in seven appearances as he earned All-WCC First Team and All-Mountain Region honors.
Several important contributors stepped up and answered the bell when called upon. Junior Aidan Troutner competed in three races this season, taking home 17th at the Nuttycombe Invitational, seventh at the WCC Championships and clocking a career-best 10k (29:43.1) at the NCAA Championships to claim 48th. Redshirt freshman Luke Grundvig took part in three races, including a 28th-place finish in the NCAA Mountain Regional.
Sophomores Kenneth Rooks, Justin Hartshorn and Lucas Bons also appeared in a number of races throughout the season as Rooks earned All-WCC Second Team and All-Mountain Region honors.
Consistency and depth characterized the Cougars’ season. The team’s third-place finish at Nationals marks the program’s fifth-ever podium placement and fourth under Coach Eyestone.
Looking ahead, BYU will have a strong nucleus of proven returners to carry the torch into the Big 12 era.
|Run Elite Program Cross Classic||1st||15|
|Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational||2nd||89|
|NCAA Mountain Regional||2nd||54|
|NCAA National Championship||3rd||132|
- Ranked as high as No. 1 following Cowboy Jamboree
- 38th appearance at nationals, 24th-straight, 10th in last 11 seasons
- Eighth consecutive WCC title, wrapping up BYU's tenure in the conference having won 10 of 12 while in the WCC
- 31st conference title, finishing top-5 or better in 58 of 59 seasons (1964-)
- Fourth podium finish at Nationals in the last six years (first since 2019 national title)
BYU men’s cross country had five athletes receive 2022 NCAA Division I All-Academic honors, the U.S. Track & Field…