joemoxon | Posted: 14 Oct 2015 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

BYU faces field of top-ranked harriers

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PROVO, Utah – No. 22 BYU women’s cross country will face 19 of the best collegiate teams in America at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Friday.

The Cougars have slowly moved up in the polls each week since the season began, reaching 22nd after a strong fourth-place showing at the Washington Invitational two weeks ago against No. 4 Oregon, No. 9 Stanford and No. 10 Washington. BYU will get another crack at Washington this weekend.

“Next to nationals, it will be the biggest meet we run in,” said BYU head coach Patrick Shane. “Basically you go to Wisconsin or you go to Pre-nationals to get criteria points to ensure you can go to the national championship.”

The top two teams in each geographic regional meet automatically qualify to compete at nationals. BYU’s region features No. 1 New Mexico and No. 2 Colorado, so BYU sits with a likelihood of clenching 3rd place in the Mountain Region Championship on November 13. The Cougars will have to earn criteria points to compete at nationals as an at-large bid, and Coach Shane says the best place to do that is at Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin is by far the best place to get those,” Shane said. “When you look at the teams going, five of the top-10 teams are going to be there and every team ranked 10th through 23rd will be there too. It’s amazing—absolutely the place you want to be this weekend.”

The Cougars have defined their identity this season as one of the tightest packs in women’s cross country. All five scoring runners finished within 18 seconds of each other in the Washington 6k, an almost unprecedented feat at this level of competition. A similar performance in Wisconsin could place the Cougars virtually anywhere on the finishing block.

“I’m incredibly pleased with where we stand,” Shane said. “But this will determine a much more accurate poll.”

The Wisconsin Adidas Invitational is being held at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course with an “A” and a “B” race. The hashtag for the meet will be #adidasinvite. Live results and video can be found on the BYU women’s cross country schedule page.

BYU “A” race representatives: Natalie Shields-Connolly, Alice Jensen, Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd, Yesenia Silva, Alyssa Steed and Ashleigh Warner.

BYU “B” race representatives: Niki Barrow, Erica Birk, Kelsey Braithwaite, Rachel Cannon, Emma Gee, Lauren Shubin and Laura Young.