BYU cross country teams headed to national championships

November 17, 2018 GMT

The top-10 ranked BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams will race against the nation’s best in the NCAA National Championships at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday.

The No. 9 women will compete in a 6K and the No. 2 men will follow with a 10K. BYU will be racing against the best teams in the country including the defending champions, No. 1 Northern Arizona on the men’s side and No. 1 New Mexico for the women.

“We’ve made some really good adjustments with every meet getting a little better each time,” BYU associate head women’s coach Diljeet Taylor said. “I’m excited to see the girls step up. Historically, our girls have run well in the championship portion of every season so I’m looking forward to seeing their hard work come together for a solid result.”

The No. 9 women’s team advanced to the NCAA Championships due to an at-large bid following a third-place finish at the Mountain Region Championships and strong performance in the other meets this season. Led by All-American Erica Birk-Jarvis, the Cougars placed fourth at the Pre-Nationals Invitational and first at the West Coast Conference Championships.

The women’s team will be represented at nationals by Birk-Jarvis, Courtney Wayment, Olivia Hoj, Anna Camp, Sara Musselman, Sadie Sargent and Aubrey Frentheway. Birk-Jarvis, Wayment, Hoj, Camp, Musselman and Frentheway were all named to All-WCC First Team and Birk-Jarvis, Wayment, Hoj and Camp received all-region honors.

“This is definitely a team that has the potential to do better than we’ve done in previous years,” Taylor said. “We understand at the NCAA Championships that anything is possible. If they execute and run with heart like they did at regionals, we’ll see a fun finish.”

“We’re excited for the opportunity to go to the national meet,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We’re ranked No. 2 right now and we know it’s going to a battle with NAU because they are a very strong team. We’ve come up with a plan and if we execute well, I think we have a chance to do some really good things.”

The No. 2 men’s team automatically qualified for the championships after a second-place finish at the Mountain Region Championships. Prior to the Mountain Region Championships, the Cougars placed first at every other meet this season, including the Pre-Nationals Invitational and the West Coast Conference Championships. The men’s individual and team finishes have prepared them to compete at the national level.

Rory Linkletter, Connor McMillan, Conner Mantz, Jacob Heslington and Clayson Shumway will represent the Cougars in Wisconsin, along with the final two runners being a race-day decision. All five of the announced men’s team competitors earned All-WCC First Team honors and all-region honors.

“It’s all built up to this,” Eyestone said. “We’ve had the understanding that we wanted to save something for Nationals. We timed our training this year to hopefully have our best performance on Saturday.”

The NCAA Championships will take place at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin, with the women’s 6K beginning at 10:45 a.m. CST followed by the men’s 10K at 11:45 a.m. CST. The meet will be streamed live on FloTrack and live stats are available here. Follow the BYU cross country Instagram and Twitter accounts for updates on the race.