LOGAN, Utah – The No. 18 BYU women’s cross country team finished fifth overall at the 2016 NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Friday in Logan, Utah. This fifth place finish puts the Cougars in a tight race to receive an at-large bid.
BYU finished the 6-kilometer race with 146 points, only one point ahead of Colorado State to secure their fifth place spot. No. 1 Colorado came in first overall with 35 points and No. 6 New Mexico came in second with 109 points. No. 29 Air Force finished close behind with 111 points taking third. No. 20 Utah came in fourth with 136 points, finishing only 10 points ahead of BYU.
“We needed our top girls to be in the top-15 and they were kind of back a little bit," said BYU women’s cross country head coach Diljeet Taylor. “I definitely think we could have done more strategically to get where we wanted to be. They went out so aggressive at the beginning being in second place near Colorado. We wanted to let them do all the work, but they got excited and that’s okay – we just learn from this. I am proud of the work they put in to get to this point though and now we just wait for the at-large bid.”
No. 6 New Mexico gained an early lead with their first place finisher, Alice Wright, as she pulled in front of the course from the start of the race. BYU edged close to the front of the pack coming out of the first mile in second place and began to close the gap between the Cougars, No. 1 Colorado and No. 6 New Mexico.
The women stayed near the beginning of the pack for the first half of the race. The Cougars finished the race with four of the runners coming in the top-30. Silva finished No. 20 (20:45.50), sophomore Erica Birk-Jarvis came in at No. 26 (20:56.40) and junior Laura Young took 28th (20:57.90). Freshman Olivia Hoj came in right behind Young at No. 29 (21:03.80) and freshman Courtney Wayment finished off the BYU's top-5 at No. 43 (21:25.40). Junior Ashleigh Warner and sophomore Emma Gee finished the race for the Cougars coming in at No. 53 and No. 79, respectively.
Th top-25 finishers at the region meets were named 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country All-Region Honorees. Silva was the only athlete from the women's team honored with this title. The senior said she worked hard to get where she could for the team even if it wasn’t where she wanted to finish.
“I was just working hard during the race – it was definitely a tough race for me today,” said Silva. “I stayed positive and told myself I needed to be fearless and do it for them. As a team, we did pretty well, but we probably didn’t execute the race as planned. We stayed together as planned and we ran as hard as we could. We came to do what we needed to do.”
The team now waits for an at-large bid to find out if they will compete in the 2016 NCCA Cross Country National Championships in Terre Houte, Indiana on Saturday, Nov. 19.