The Cougars’ first men’s cross country meet passed coaching expectations as the team came out on top overall in the USU Invitational Saturday in Logan.
“We controlled the race and had the top five score in the Top 10,” head coach Ed Eyestone said. “It just confirmed to me that we have a good depth and support from each one of our runners.”
Runners in the Top 10 included Steve Flint, who came in second, Spencer Gardner at fourth, Thomas Gruenewald at fifth, Brian Palmer at ninth and Taylor Farnsworth at 10th place. Erik Harris, a freshmen, finished in 13th place.
Strategically, the Cougars had a solid core nucleus at the beginning two miles of the four-mile race. The team’s depth helped team members win together at the Aggie’s course.
“It was a good experience for those that ran today,” Eyestone said regarding the rest of the team. “Spencer (Gardner) stepped it up for us and Tommy (Gruenewald) had a great time ever since coming back from his mission.”
Prior to the BYU Autumn Classic Sept. 14 at the BYU Campus Cross Country Course, Eyestone will focus on training. The Classic will includes colleges from the University of Minnesota (Men), San Bernardino Valley College (Men), Idaho State, Utah Valley, and Utah (Women) on Friday, Sept. 14 for the men and on Sept. 15th for the women at the Cascade Golf Course in Orem, Utah.
Looking forward to the next meet, Eyestone knows the challenge and expectations for his team now the season has begun.
“The University of Minnesota has a good team coming in and running at our home course will be a great opportunity for the team,” Eyestone said.
Eyestone said the Cougars performed at the best of their ability, but expectations are high.
“We got a good look that we’re a good team,” Eyestone said. “We need to continue to perform well and we’re still not at our peak. This is another step to a memorable season and we’re excited for that.”
Running with two groups consisting of freshmen and few veterans, the women’s cross country team didn’t score as a team but it was a great indicator for the team’s head coach to make improvements for his team.
“We didn’t enter our top 10 runners for this meet,” head coach Patrick Shane said. “We won’t open as a team till our home meet in two weeks…I was happy with the underclassmen running this race. They did well.”
It was an opportunity for the less experienced and freshmen to get a race under their belts without getting the BYU “big guns” to come run at the meet. The Cougars still have two weeks to prepare until they host the BYU Autumn Classic.
Individually, the Cougars finished the Utah State Invitational with Candace Eddy Carlisle coming in at 14th, Jennica Redd at 20th and Loren Wynn at 30th.
Praising his team, Shane mentioned two standout performers.
“Jennica made a great contribution and is capable of running at this level,” Shane said. “Loren had a solid race and was concerned because of her summer training but it helped her to know where to improve and she will come along very well.”
Shane is optimistic about this season’s future.
“We’ll have our hard work paid off from this past summer’s preparation and it will show at our BYU home meet,” he said. “I feel we are progressing as a team but we have more work to do.”
The women’s next meet is at the Reno Twilight Classic in Sparks, Nev., on Saturday, Sept. 8, 6:20 p.m. (PDT).