Women’s cross country racing toward national title


    By Joshua S. Gildea

    If the NCAA Pre-National cross country meet on Oct. 14 was any indication of things to come, the BYU women’s team could soon be holding its third national trophy.

    The women claimed a first-place finish at the meet in Ames, Iowa, while the men took fourth.

    BYU beat out nationally ranked teams such as Stanford, Wisconsin and Colorado en route to its first No. 1 ranking of the season.

    The Cougars entered the meet ranked No. 3 nationally but beat higher-ranked Stanford and Colorado to move up in the rankings.

    Sophomore Lindsey Thomsen led the Cougars in their balanced attack by finishing ninth overall in a field of over 400 collegiate runners.

    She posted a time of 21:17 on the 6K course.

    Other scoring teammates included senior All-American Sharolyn Shields-Thayer, sophomore Sarah Ellett, and redshirt freshmen Nan Evans and Katie Martin.

    All BYU scorers finished within 45 seconds of each other, giving BYU a low enough score to claim the pre-national event.

    Thomsen also finished first for BYU three weeks ago at the Great American Cross Country Festival in North Carolina.

    “I think once we get everyone running together, we will be able to close our times even more. This race is just one more to help us get ready for the nationals”, Thomsen said.

    “We were hoping to let Stanford remain at No. 1 a little while longer, but we had no choice but to claim the meet,” women’s head coach Patrick Shane said.

    Junior All-America Tara Rohatinsky-Northcutt also made her first competitive appearance after coming off an injury that has kept her from racing during the first half of the season.

    She led BYU’s B team to a strong victory in the collegiate race by claiming the No. 1 finish with a time of 22:46.

    “It’s great to be back with the team. Recovery is a slow process and I know I have to be patient to be ready for nationals,” Northcutt said.

    The BYU men’s cross country team also made a strong showing in Iowa.

    The team, led by freshman Josh Rohatinsky, finished fourth overall behind Colorado, Northern Arizona and Stanford.

    Rohatinsky, formally of Provo High School, finished the 10K course at 27th place overall.

    For many of the runners, this was the first time they had competed on a 10K course.

    “There is a real advantage having seen the course,” men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said. “Now we know what to expect. There is no reason for us to be fearful going into the nationals.”

    The fourth-place finish helped the men to establish a position in the nation’s top 10.

    “Finishing fourth really says something about our team. Almost every school in the country was at this meet,” Eyestone said.

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