Women take third, Men win NCAA Mountain Regional in Provo
PROVO, Utah — No. 4 BYU women's cross country finished third while No. 8 men's cross country took first in the NCAA Mountain Regional at Timpanogos Golf Club on Friday.
With the win, the men's team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The women's team looks poised to receive an at-large bid to Nationals but will await Saturday's Selection Show at 5 p.m. EST to know for sure.
The fourth-ranked Cougars totaled 107 points behind No. 3 Colorado's 83 and No. 2 New Mexico's 62. At a Regional where BYU sat a few of its top runners, including Whittni Orton, the Cougars looked to solidify their resume heading into Nationals.
"Mission accomplished," said BYU women's cross country head coach Diljeet Taylor. "Now we're onto next week."
Seniors Anna Camp-Bennett and Aubrey Frentheway finished a millisecond apart as they led the Cougars to a third-place finish. BYU placed four runners in the top-25 in Camp-Bennett, Frentheway, Sara Musselman and Anna Martin.
No. 8 BYU broke No. 1 Northern Arizona's grip on the Mountain Region title as four Cougar athletes finished in the top-10, helping the team take the region championship with a total of 42 points. The top-ranked Lumberjacks had won the previous four consecutive Mountain Region championships.
Defending national champion Conner Mantz once again led the Cougars to victory. Mantz battled with NAU's Nico Young for much of the meet, but dialed it up a notch to win at the end.
"When I saw Nico Young take the lead, I thought, 'with a hundred to go, it's not going to ware me out too much if I have a hard surge,'" Mantz said. "So that's how I decided to take the lead with 100 to go."
Mantz became the first BYU men's cross country region champion since Miles Batty led the team to their last Mountain Region team title in 2011. With the win, Mantz has taken first in eight straight meets and 12 for his career.
Casey Clinger followed close behind Mantz to finish in third with a career-best 10k time of 29:42.9. Clinger has now finished in the top-3 in back-to-back meets and seven for his career.
Brandon Garnica tied his career-best 10k time at 29:58.5. Aidan Troutner finished ninth with a career-best 10k time of 30:04.2. Freshman Davin Thompson finished 21st in just his second collegiate meet. Joey Nokes and Zac Jacklin rounded out the Cougars' results for the day.