By AmyAnn Rupp
The women”s cross country team continues to prepare for the National Championships and the defense of their title.
With the national championships almost two months away the Cougars are the top-ranked team in the country despite the team not using its top runners.
On the road, the BYU women”s cross country team swept the Great American Cross Country Festival winning both the collegiate-seeded 5K race, and the collegiate B squad race Friday Sept. 27.
BYU”s A squad finished with four of their runners in the overall top seven.
Redshirt freshman Kassi Andersen finished first for BYU and second overall in the “A” race with a time of 17 minutes, 57 seconds. Behind Andersen was junior Michaela Manova running in 18.7.
“I felt pretty good, I was just a little unsure of what was going to happen,” Andersen said. “Michaela and I worked together a lot of the way and I knew I needed to stay with her, and so I did even when it got hard.”
In sixth place was redshirt freshman Breanne Sandberg with 18.27 and in seventh, senior Nan Kennard running in 18.40.
In the “A” Race Columbia University placed second and N.C. State placed third.
“I was surprised that we won by so much, I was hoping that it would be close,” Shane said. “Apparently Georgetown didn”t have two on their top team there and NC state didn”t have their top runner there.”
“By not having their top runners it made us look better than we really are, however our young women ran great, everyone of them,” he said.
The “B” Team won the 5K “B” Race, with six runners finishing in the top eight, and a total score of 22 points. Senior Katie Martin placed first with a time of 18:41.5.
Senior Kristen Ogden placed third and junior Tiffany Rust, sophomore Emily Mars, senior Jaime Cottle and junior Katie Moon finished fifth through eight, respectively.
“We were ready to go for both races. We ran away with it,” Shane said.
Although it rained for the two days straight before Friday”s races, Shane said the weather didn”t affect the girl”s performance.
“It was wet, rainy and muddy – but people just have to go out and get it done,” Shane said. “I am glad we had some inclement weather because you just have to learn to get out and run. You just go do it.”
For Andersen, Manova and Martin, Friday”s race was their first of the season.
“I was surprised that I did so well,” Manova said. “It wasn”t a bad race, but nothing special. I usually don”t get stressed about this race. I just run and feel good about it and that is it.”
“I felt really good out there running,” Martin said. “I woke up with a cold so I was nervous, but the coach told us to go out conservative for the “B” race since most of the competition would be from our own teammates.”
“We ran really well,” Shane said. “Kassi ran a great time in a slow difficult course. Michaela ran a great race; Breanne had another superb race, as did Angela Bensen.”
The Cougars look to use this dual win for a bid to the National Championships on November 25.
“We”re where we want to be, I just wish it were November 25th today,” Shane said.
“Everyone ran a great race and I am looking forward to getting into a low key race in Arizona on October 11 then it is off to pre-nationals,” he said.