MEN’S 8K RECAP
MADISON, Wis. – In the biggest meet of the season to date, things could not have gone much better as the No. 9 BYU men’s cross country team took second overall at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational Friday.
In a meet that featured 17 of the nation’s top 30 ranked teams, BYU took a huge, and somewhat unexpected, step toward qualifying for the NCAA Championship meet. BYU coach Ed Eyestone was thrilled with his team.
“Going into this meet, we thought a top five finish would be nice,” Eyestone said. “We thought we would get all the points we needed if we were in the top five. We thought a top three finish would be fantastic, and so I think we surpassed all of our wildest expectations today.”
The only team to beat the Cougars in Madison was the No. 2 Syracuse Orange. Eyestone believes such a performance distinguishes BYU as the second best team in the Mountain Region, behind Colorado. The top two teams in each region are automatic qualifiers into the NCAA Championships.
BYU was led by its usual top three, Dallin Farnsworth (16th overall), Aaron Fletcher (18th) and Connor McMillan (26th), respectively. Jonathan Harper (44th) and Mitchell Briggs (82nd) came in fourth and fifth to round out the scoring for the Cougars. Dylan Shawhan and Clayton Young also ran in the “A” race, but did not figure in the team score.
Defending WCC Champion Portland finished 19th in the event. The Pilots top finisher was Jeff Thies in 48th place at 24:09.1.
WOMEN’S 6K RECAP
MADISON, Wis. – A ninth place finish by No. 22 BYU's women's cross country team at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational Friday morning has paved its way to nationals.
“That was a great race for us,” said BYU head coach Patrick Shane. “We were ninth place, just behind Washington, and we just punched our ticket to nationals right there—we will be going.”
The Cougars will likely need a third-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Region Championship next month to clinch a berth to nationals, but Shane is confident going forward.
After a lightning start from Yesenia Silva with the gun, BYU grouped up and nestled into 11th place for about six kilometers, running in their now-typical pack of Natalie Shields-Connolly, Silva, Carrie Jube and Jennica Redd. They wouldn’t edge into top-10 territory until the final two kilometers, a hallmark of coach Shane’s racing strategy.
“Team running was the theme here,” Shane said. “All the top-four could almost reach out and touch each other in the middle of the race. And then the next three were back there running together in a group, too: Alice Jensen, Alyssa Steed and Ashleigh Warner. It was a great example of team running, and that’s what really does it in cross country.”
The Cougars have moved up steadily in the rankings throughout the season, starting the year in 26th and eventually moving up to 22nd.