No. 2, No. 9 cross country set to host NCAA Mountain Region Championships
PROVO, Utah – BYU’s No. 2 men’s and No. 9 women’s cross country teams will compete in the NCAA Mountain Region Championships at the East Bay Golf Course in Provo, Utah, on Friday, Nov. 9.
Five of the 20 women’s Mountain Region teams head into this week’s contest nationally ranked with No. 1 New Mexico, No. 4 Colorado, No. 9 BYU, No. 22 Southern Utah and No. 28 Northern Arizona.
“We’re in championship season now and we’re excited for another opportunity to race,” BYU associate head women’s coach Diljeet Taylor said. “I’m excited to see what the team can do with fresh legs and racing on the same course we hosted WCC Championships on two weeks ago.”
The ninth-ranked BYU women’s team will get its first opportunity to compete against top-ranked New Mexico. The Cougars will face the fourth-ranked Buffalos for the second time this season after BYU took fourth and Colorado finished 10th in the women’s Wisconsin Pre-Nationals Cardinal 6k. The Cougars are coming off their first WCC championship since 2014 and look to clinch their fourth-straight appearance to the national meet.
“We’re coming in with a good number of points to qualify for nationals with an at-large bid, if necessary,” Taylor said. “We’re approaching it like we’re still racing it and we’ll keep working with the pack to close the gap.”
Women’s Team Notables
- The women’s team is looking to advance to the NCAA National Championships for the fourth-straight year
- The Cougars finished third overall at the 2017 NCAA Mountain Regionals
- Michaela Mannova was the last BYU women’s runner to win the women's Mountain Region Championship race (2003)
Six of the 20 men’s Mountain Region teams will enter the meet nationally ranked with No. 1 Northern Arizona, No. 2 BYU, No. 8 Colorado, No. 13 Air Force, No. 14 Colorado State and No. 18 Wyoming.
“Our expectation is to qualify and advance to the national meet,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We’ve been doing that every year since I started coaching here in 2000 and I have no reason to believe that we don’t have another great opportunity to advance again this year.”
The second-ranked BYU men’s team will face off against top-ranked Northern Arizona for the first time this season. Last season, the Cougars were the runner-ups to the eventual national champions at the Mountain Regionals. BYU won the Pre-Nationals White 8k earlier this season and is coming off its fourth-straight WCC championship win. The Cougars look to clinch their 20th-straight bid to the NCAA Championships.
“It can be a tricky experiment because you want to advance comfortably but not push yourselves so hard that it’s going to wreck you for the national meet,” Eyestone said. “We’ve got a plan on how we’re going to qualify and still be ready to come in full strength next week at nationals.”
Men’s Team Notables
- The men’s team has advanced to the NCAA National Championships every year since 1999
- The Cougars finished second at the 2017 NCAA Mountain Regionals
- Rory Linkletter finished as the runner-up at the 2017 Mountain Regional Championships
- Miles Batty was the last men’s runner to win the men's Mountain Region Championship race (2011)
Teams that finish first and second in each region automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships while the remaining teams await the decision concerning 13 national at-large bids. The at-large selection is determined through a review of regular-season competition and finish at regional championships. More details on qualifying for the NCAA National Championships can be found on ustfccca.org.
The first race of the day will be the women’s 6k at 11 a.m. MST followed by the men’s 10k at noon. Admission will be free to the public and the race will be streamed online at FloTrack.org. Live stats, the course map and other general information can be found on byucougars.com. Follow BYU cross country’s Instagram and Twitter pages for live updates.