Men’s cross country take fourth at nationals, women 28th

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There is plenty of hardware coming back to Provo after the BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams netted several strong performances at the NCAA National Championship on Monday in Terre Haute, Ind.

The men finished fourth overall — their highest finish since taking fifth in 2004 — and the women finished 28th. Senior Miles Batty, junior Rex Shields and senior Morgan Haws all finished in the top 25 individually and earned All-American honors.

The men’s finish is the second-best team finish in the history of the cross country program, behind only a second-place finish in 1993. Head coach Ed Eyestone said he is proud of the accomplishments his team has made this year.

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The BYU men's cross country team poses with their prize after taking fourth in the national championships.
“It was an outstanding team run today,” Eyestone said. “This is something we’ve worked for all year long and we were extremely happy to finish on the podium in fourth place. We really met and exceeded most of our goals for this season and it was nice to be able to come home with a trophy.”

The men were led by senior Miles Batty, who finished 14th with a time of 29:40. Batty said he is pleased with his personal performance and the team’s race.

“I went out really conservative with the team and then as I worked my way up I was running part of the race by myself but I was able to hang tough and I felt really happy with the race and that I was able to improve on last year,” said Batty, who finished 15th at the NCAAs in 2010. “We were able to achieve great results and I’m really proud of our team.”

The Cougars finished with a score of 203 points. BYU came in behind national champion Wisconsin (97 points), Oklahoma State (139) and Colorado (144).

Junior Rex Shields and sophomore Jared Ward were also top runners for the Cougars, finishing in 22nd and 58th place overall. The other runners for BYU were sophomore Tylor Thatcher and sophomore Jason Witt. All five of BYU’s scoring runners finished in the top 70.

Eyestone said the team placing fourth at this race is comparable to huge accomplishments in other sports.

“Finishing in the top four on the podium today is equivalent to the basketball team finishing in the final four,” Eyestone said. “It’s a really big deal and I’m really proud of the guys.”

Women’s head coach Patrick Shane said he is proud of how his team performed after qualifying for at at-large bid to nationals.

“We were thrilled with our team and individual performances today,” Shane said. “We came in ranked 30th and finished 28th overall and when you consider there are 330 teams that compete to be here, to finish 28th at nationals is really an honor.”

The women were led by senior Morgan Haws, who finished 14th with a time of 19:59. Haws said she was pleased with her race and was able to accomplish her individual goals.

“I was able to keep my pace and achieve my goal of finishing in the top 15,” Haws said. “It was really a great experience and I was glad that we could all be at nationals together as a team.”

Junior Stephanie Bills-Jensen and senior Katy Andrews both finished with a time of 21:43. The other runners for the women were freshman Sarah Darby and junior Rachel Lange-Schmutz.

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