PROVO, Utah - The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams both placed in the top 10 at the biggest meet of the season to-date, the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Adidas Invitational, on Friday at Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.
In a meet that featured some of the nation’s top collegiate cross country programs, the men’s team took third place overall with 144 total points, just behind the Northern Arizona and Stanford in first and second places, respectively. Head coach Ed Eyestone is encouraged at what he saw from his athletes’ performances this weekend.
“The guys ran a really good race, and we did what we needed to do” Eyestone said. “We kind of struggled at the start, in 8th place as a team about halfway but we really wanted to own the last 2k, and we had some guys move up quickly towards the end of the race. Overall, we had a really solid showing by our top three, and we also had some nice support with our fourth and fifth runners as they came through as well.”
The Cougars were led by senior Nicolas Montanez, who was the first BYU athlete to finish the 8k race and came in at ninth place overall with a time of 24:02.8. Following Martinez was junior Jonathan Harper and sophomore Rory Linkletter who placed 18th and 22nd, respectively, with times of 24:18.5 and 24:20.9. Brayden McLelland (40th), Spencer Hanson (55th) and Mitchell Briggs (58th) all also finished in the top 60, and Clayton Young (94th) rounded out the last of the Cougars in the competition.
Three Cougars also competed in the “B” race on Friday. Sophomores Daniel Carney and Dallin Farnsworth took first and second in the race, and with junior Steve Morrin close behind, finishing in fourth place. With Carney and Farnsworth coming in first and second, they will now be added to the seven Cougar competitors that will participate in the Conference meet, and nine runners total will participate.
The women’s team finished in tenth place overall with 318 total points. Women’s coach Diljeet Taylor was satisfied with her team’s performance, but looks forward to what they can improve upon as a team in the upcoming weeks.
“This was a good race to see where we are at with some of the other top teams in the country,” Taylor said. "We didn’t run as well as I think that we could have, but we still finished in the top ten and I am really pleased with that. We have a fairly young team, so getting this experience at this level is going to be beneficial for us in a month from now.”
Senior Yesenia Silva was the top Cougar finisher and took 26th place overall in the women’s championship race with a finishing time of 20:43.0. Freshman Olivia Hoj and junior Laura Young were behind Silva, and they finished 43rd and 59th overall with times of 20:54.8 and 21:02.2, respectively. Ashleigh Warner (76th), Courtney Wayment (114th), Erica Birk (144th) and Kristi Rush (180th) rounded out the Cougar competitors in the championship race.
“This will be a great learning experience,” Taylor said. “In the big picture, finishing tenth in a big meet like this a still a step in the right direction.”
The Cougars also ran five athletes in the women’s “B” race and placed eighth overall with 175 points. Alice Jensen was the top Cougar finisher and came in at 5th place overall. Senior Natalie Connolly (20) and sophomore Emma Gee (45) were the second and third place Cougar finishers, with Kelsey Braithwaite (51) and Niki Barrow (54) behind them.
Up next, the Cougars will begin prep for the West Coach Conference Championship which will take place on October 28 in Logan, Utah.