By Richard Reeve
The BYU men”s cross country team accomplished two of their goals this season, winning the Mountain West and reaching the NCAA tournament, but Monday they fell just short of achieving their third goal, finishing in the Top 10.
The squad instead finished 12th at the NCAA tournament.
But that”s good enough for coach Ed Eyestone and his Cougars.
“We get all excited whenever our football team gets near single digits (in the rankings),” points out Eyestone.
“12th in the nation … can”t complain,” Eyestone added.
The 12th place finish is a huge improvement over the 23rd-place finish that the Cougars had a year ago.
“We”re definitely headed in the right direction,” said Eyestone. “I think we maximized our potential. You can bet that next year our goals will be a little higher.”
Eyestone”s team, however, will lose seniors John Hedengren and Tyler Bushnell to graduation. Hedengren, an All-American, has been the Cougars” leader all season long.
On Monday, he did it one last time, as he was the first Cougar to cross the finish line, finishing 39th. Six seconds later, Lewis Jones, who appears to be the athlete who will replace Hedengren as the Cougars” leading man next year, finished in 45th.
“It was nice to see that Lewis was able to run with John the whole race,” said Eyestone.
Andy Carman would be the next Cougar to finish, as he was the 71st participant to cross the line. He would be followed Steve Barrus and Tyler Bushnell in 89th and 118th, respectively.
Eyetone said the best performance of the day for his team belonged to Barrus who pushed himself to finish ahead of where he normally would have been expected to finish in the race.
The Cougars finished with 368 points, just four points behind 11th-place Michigan.