The BYU men’s and women’s cross-country teams competed at the NCAA Regionals in Logan, Utah, on Nov. 10, finishing second and third respectively.
The No. 2 men’s finish earned them an automatic spot in the NCAA Championships on Nov. 18. The women’s team received an at-large to compete in the meet after finishing behind the top two women’s teams in the country.
Securing that berth was the men’s goal coming into the race, according to BYU head coach Ed Eyestone.
Rory Linkletter led the Cougars, finishing the 10-kilometer race in second place with a time of 30:14.6. The only other Cougar to finish in the top 10 was Connor McMillan, who ran the course in 30:17.3, placing fourth.
“It was a very nice run up front by Rory and Connor,” Eyestone said.
Eyestone rested three of his top runners, hoping to keep them fresh for the upcoming championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky.
“We are excited at the prospect of going full strength next week,” he said.
Meanwhile, the women’s top runner was Laura Young, who finished ninth overall with a time of 20:22.21. She was followed by Courtney Wayment in 22nd, Olivia Hoj in 24th and Ashleigh Warner in 25th.
They finished third behind No. 1 Colorado and No. 2 New Mexico.
All-region honors were bestowed upon Linkletter, McMillan and Kramer Morton for the men and Young, Wayment, Hoj and Warner for the women.
On Nov. 18, the men’s team will be racing for its first national title in program history. BYU has had individual champions in the past, with the most recent being Josh Rohatinsky in 2006. The only other Cougar to finish first overall in Nationals was Eyestone himself in 1984.
They will have to beat a strong Northern Arizona team that will defend its title from a year ago.
The championship race will be on Saturday, Nov. 18, in Louisville, Kentucky and will be streamed live on FloSports.tv. The men’s race will begin at 9:45 a.m. MST and the women’s 6k race will begin an hour earlier at 8:45 a.m.