Cross Country Looks to Make National Mark in Greenville
Fresh off a second and third-place finish, respectively, at the NCAA Mountain Regional in Provo last weekend, BYU's No. 2 women's and No. 13 men's cross country teams travel to Greenville, S.C. with high hopes.
The women's team looks to better their third to outdo last year's runner-up finish by winning their third national title in the last five years.
The women are led by two-time All-American Tara Northcutt, who has been the Cougars top finisher in every race she has run this season. Northcutt is the anchor in a talented group of runners that look to unseed top-ranked Stanford.
The Cardinal is the only team BYU has not beaten this season, finishing two points behind Stanford at the Pre-National Invitational in October.
"On paper Stanford seems to have t he edge and that is why they are ranked first," women's head coach Patrick Shane said. "We are expecting to challenge them for a national championship along with several other top schools, including Georgetown and N.C. State."
N.C. State beat the Cougars earlier in the season at the Great American Festival in Charlotte, N.C. BYU avenged that loss at the Pre-National meet when N.C. State finished third.
"It's going to be a close race and it really comes down to who runs well Monday afternoon," Shane said. "If we can have a solid race from each of our athletes, we have a good shot at winning."
On the men's side, All-American John Hedengren takes the No. 13 BYU men into the race lookingto make a splash on the national scene.
Men's head coach Ed Eyestone, in his second year as head coach, expects the team to improve on last year's 23rd-place finish at nationals.
"The guys and I started the season thinking we had a legitimate shot at the top ten," Eyestone said. "We're currently ranked 13th but if we can keep our spread between 40 and 45 seconds, we should be able to reach our goal.
The races will be run Monday, with the men's 10K scheduled to start at 9 a.m. (MDT) and the women's 6K race to follow at 10:15 a.m. (MDT).