SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Carrie Jube’s second place overall finish led BYU women’s cross country to its first ever West Coast Conference Championship Saturday morning at Baylands Park course in Sunnyvale, California.
“It was a remarkable day team-wise, and individually we had some outstanding performances,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “It was by far our best team race.”
Jube, a junior from Provo, Utah, completed the 6K race in 19:49. Jube stayed near the front the whole race but separated from the lead pack towards the end of the race and actually took the lead for a few minutes. She was eventually passed late in the race but finished comfortably in second place.
“I felt really good about my race,” Jube said. “I went in to the race thinking that my goal would be to place in the top 10. I started out conservatively, but stuck around the front pack and ended up feeling really good. At one point, I decided to make a move and take the lead.”
The Cougars’ top four runners all finished in the top nine with Andrea Nelson Harrison finishing fourth overall with a time of 19:56. Makenna Smith came in sixth with a time of 20:04 and Jennica Redd finished ninth in 20:26.
“For Carrie Jube to be second place in the conference meet was quite a thrill,” Shane said. “Andrea at fourth, was a major improvement from last year. It was another solid race for her. Makenna brought it at sixth and really came on at the end. McKenzie Weir and Kelsey Brown, our fifth and sixth runners, brought it the last mile of the race and our question of finding a fifth runner was answered.”
The course was a mostly flat, sandy, hard-packed trail according to Shane. And BYU’s race strategy was to go out fast, push the pace and finish strong. The Cougars were able to execute their plan well with their top four runners staying in the top 10 the majority of the race.
“Every single athlete ran their race plan perfectly and executed their individual and team goals right down the line,” Shane said.
Winning the conference championship had been a goal of the team all season. But the team knew it would have to run its best race collectively to do it. For Jube, the Cougars had the breakout performance she had hoped for.
“It means a lot to our team and me,” Jube said. “We know the potential that we have. We have been waiting for a breakthrough race for our team to show people what we can do as a team. The talent has always been there but it’s been a long time coming.”
For Harrison, a senior, a team captain, and BYU’s top runner this season, the win was especially gratifying.
“In training we have been really focusing on this race,” Harrison said. “We knew we could do this but we had to do it together. We all needed to step our game up. We saw that happen with so many people. Everyone knew they had to give it their all. To know your team gave everything it had today to become a conference championship means so much.”
The championship is Shane’s 25th conference championship over 35 years of coaching but his first since the 2006 season in the Mountain West Conference.
“Every single one of these girls rose to the occasion and I’m just happy for them,” Shane said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won a conference championship. I’m just really proud of these women.”
Kelsey Brown and Alyssa Steed also had strong performances finishing in sixth and seventh for BYU and 16th and 19th overall, respectively.The Cougars have another bye week before the Mountain Regional Championships on Nov. 14 hosted by the University of New Mexico.
Complete meet results can be found here.