The BYU Cougars cross-country team members have high expectations from last year’s NCAA Championship finishing at fourth nationally. This year, they look forward two months to when they return to the NCAA Championships but for now find themselves with a great rank in the preseason poll.
Ed Eyestone, BYU men’s cross-country head coach, is excited for his team this season, ranked third nationally in the preseason poll.
“It’s nice to start the poll at No.3, and it’ll be a great motivator for the guys,” Eyestone said. “We have a good chance for the conference title and beating Portland for the West Coast Conference.”
Returning to the team are All-American junior Jared Ward, who also runs the 10,000 meter for track and field, and fellow All-American senior Rex Shields.
Besides having Ward and Shields, Eyestone said he feels they have the deepest team in the country with junior Tylor Thatcher. “Tylor is in the best shape of his life, providing a 1,2,3 punch for the team.”
For the 2012 season, the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association have the women’s cross-country team sitting at No. 2 behind University of San Francisco in the preseason poll in the West Coast Conference.
This year’s team is comprised of younger runners mixed with great senior leadership. Stephanie Bills, Michaelanne Laurent, Candice Eddy Carlisle and Shaylynn Fuller are expected to lead the way for the Cougars as they prepare to challenge for the WCC Championships.
Patrick Shane, head coach for the women’s cross country, has a lot confidence in this season’s outlook. “We have all year to prepare for the championships,” Shane said. “We want to be in the top two and qualify for nationals.”
Shane will look for some help from the younger women to rise above others’ expectations. With nine meets during the season, the Cougars will rely on each and every one of the runners to contribute during each meet.
The Cougars start their season on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 9:45 a.m. (MDT), in Logan, Utah, at the Utah State Invitational.