Cross country teams ready to prove themselves at Wisconsin Invitational

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The No. 6 men’s and No. 27 women’s cross country teams will run in one of the most competitive races this season Friday in Wisconsin.

BYU men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said he is excited to compete against top teams and see how the teams perform against the toughest competition they have faced this season.

“I’m looking forward to better competition than we had at the Notre Dame competition,” Eyestone said. “It will be a great opportunity for us to rise up and see how we do against some even better competition.”

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BYU's Miles Batty stands in the winner's circle after a race last year.

Eyestone said the team will be happy to finish in the top three but would ultimately like to win.

“We would love to go up there and run our own race,” Eyestone said. “If we win, that’s fantastic. If we are in the top three we will be satisfied, but if we finish lower than that we will be a little disappointed.”

The toughest competition for the men will be No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 Stanford, the only teams participating that are ranked above the Cougars.

Eyestone said` it would be great to beat these teams, but he hopes his team focuses on running its best race.

“If we beat them that is great,” Eyestone said. “But we would love to go up there and run our own race.”

Junior Rex Shields said the key to performing well in this race is getting to the front and running with the ranked teams.

“We want to get out fast and get to the front and run with the teams who are ranked ahead of us,” Shields said. “We know who we want to beat in the end.”

Eyestone said he is particularly happy with how the team has been preparing mentally for this race.

“I like the mental preparation the team is doing at a higher level than I’ve seen done before,” Eyestone said. “They know what needs to be done and they will do that on Friday.”

The field for the men’s race is 39 teams and 20 of the teams are nationally ranked.

Women’s head coach Patrick Shane likes this race because it offers an opportunity for the team to earn a trip to the NCAA championship in November.

“This race gives us a chance to earn qualifying points for the national championship,” Shane said. “If we finish 14th or 15th that will be enough to get us to the national championship.”

The field for the women’s race is 42 teams and has 18 nationally ranked teams.

Shane said the team has been focusing on individual race plans to prepare for this race and he wants the team to stick close together.

“We have been preparing for each of the members to focus on their own strengths and apply them throughout the race,” Shane said. “The ability for the runners to stay together and within a 15-second spread should be enough to pull this off.”

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