Men’s cross country wins NCAA Mountain Region Championship

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The No. 3 BYU men’s cross country team won the NCAA Mountain Region Championship at East Bay Golf Course in Provo on Saturday and secured a trip to the national meet.

Senior Miles Batty led the Cougars and took the individual title with a time of 30:09.3.

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BYU cross country runners Rex Shields, left, and Jared Ward finish eighth and ninth respectively at Saturday's 2011 NCAA Mountain Region Cross Country Championship at East Bay Golf Course.
Batty said the team wanted to focus on running an easy race but still qualify for nationals.

“Our No. 1 goal was just to take it easy and run as a team,” Batty said. “We didn’t really want to win this race, we just wanted to make it to nationals. It was a good result, though, and hopefully we can recover and get ready for nationals.”

The women also had a strong performance at the race and finished in fourth place. The team was led by senior Morgan Haws, who finished second individually with a time of 20:53.2 and guaranteed herself an individual spot in the national championship.

This is the race Haws has been most excited for all season.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all season knowing that this is how we qualify for nationals,” Haws said. “I knew this race was going to be at home, so I have been really anxious and nervous and since it went really well it’s a huge relief.”

The men’s team finished with an overall score of 49 and edged out No. 4 Colorado, who finished in second with 55 points.

Men’s coach Ed Eyestone said he was pleased with how his team ran and gave the runners high compliments.

“The team ran extremely well and I can’t complain at all,” Eyestone said. “This was a great team overall performance and this is the best team I have had in my 11 years here. I am really looking forward to the national race.”

The other top performers for the Cougars were junior Rex Shields, who finished eighth with a time of 30:42.2, and sophomore Jared Ward, who finished ninth with a time of 30:42.5. Sophomore Jason Witt and sophomore Curtis Carr completed BYU’s top 5 and finished 15th and 16th, respectively.

The women finished the race in fourth place behind No. 3 Colorado and No. 19 New Mexico, who tied for first with 84 points, and Weber State, who finished third with 135 points.

The second-best performer for the women was senior Katy Andrews, who finished 25th overall with a time of 21:50.8. The rest of the top five for the Cougars were sophomore Candace Eddy, junior Stephanie Jensen-Bills and sophomore Sarah Darby.

Women’s coach Patrick Shane said although the results didn’t come out completely in BYU’s favor, he was happy with how his team did in the race and is proud of how Haws ran her race.

“It was an exciting race,” Shane said. “Morgan Haws ran her best race of the year. We’ll have to see how the rest of the races stack up to see if we’ll be able to go to nationals; it’s only a remote possibility. But I am excited for Morgan and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

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