By Nick Newman
With their top runner rested and recovered from a leg injury, all is well for the No. 21 BYU men?s cross-country team as it prepares for a MWC title defense this Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Josh Rohatinsky has recov-ered from an injury that held him out of the pre-national race two weeks ago, and the timing couldn?t be better as the Cougar men seek to win an-other Mountain West Conference championship at Rose Park Golf Course.
?Josh is doing very well,? coach Ed Eyestone said. ?He is healthy, and close to 100 percent. He lost a few days of training while re-covering, but I?m confident he?ll do well.?
The Cougar men have won eight of the last nine titles, and at last year?s meet, Rohatinsky posted the second-best time ever for a MWC championship meet, finishing the 8k in 24:12.
?I want us to defend as conference champions,? Eyestone said. ?Ideally, it would be great to have our top four finish in the top seven. I want everyone to run to the best of their ability. If they can do that, things will work out well for us.?
Chandler Goodwin and Dustin Bybee are a few of the BYU runners looking to place well for a Cougar team that needs to close the gap on Rohatinsky to compete well this week, as well as at Regionals in Albuquerque, NM.
Accomplishing Eyestone?s goals is something the Cougars can accomplish, though it could be diffi-cult. Even though most MWC teams are not as deep as the Cougars, almost any team in the eight-team race has at least one runner that could be all-conference. Placing four in the top seven would be a remarkable feat.
In conference competi-tions, the top seven runners get the honor of being first-team all-conference athletes. The next seven get second team all-conference hon-ors.
One of the athletes set to challenge Rohatinsky for the individ-ual conference tile is Wyoming?s Mark Korir, a native of Kenya.
Eyestone said if his athletes can run like they have prepared for the meet, he has confidence they will score well.
?Our top five should be fine,? Eyestone said. ?All we need to do is run to the best of our ability. You can?t control what other people do, and you can?t give athletes their places before we even race. If they run to their potential, we should score in the low 20s.?