MADISON, Wis. – The women’s cross country team settled for a 24th place finish in a talented group of competition at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on October 19.
Twenty-six of the thirty-seven teams that competed in Saturday’s 6K either rank in the top 30 nationally or receive votes. BYU finished with 604 points in the championship race among a bunch of skillful squads. They also placed second in the open race, in which a total of four teams contested.
Head coach Patrick Shane believed more in his team after their recent fourth place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational. But a slow beginning proved too much to overcome in Wisconsin.
“We had a solid race, we just needed to have a better start.” Shane said. “We needed to be more aggressive in the first half mile of the race.”
The team was led by Andrea Nelson Harrison who finished 94th overall in 21:05. Natalie Shields finished at the same time in 96th place and Lindsey Sowards Nielson finished third for BYU and 133rd overall with a time of 21:20. Rachel Stewart took 140th with a time of 21:21, and Sarah Yingling took the fifth and final spot for the Cougars in 141st place with a time of 21:22.
Despite running with a cold, Nicole Nielsen came in sixth for BYU. Kelsey Brown a spot on the conference team with her performance in the B race Saturday. She finished with a time of 21:34, a time on par with the top seven runners that competed in the championship race.
Arizona won the day’s event with 117 points and Arkansas took second with 136 points. Two of BYU’s Mountain Region foes had good races, as conference rival San Francisco finished 10th and New Mexico finished sixth. The Cougars finished in the same position, the 24th spot, in last year’s Wisconsin Adidas Invitational.
The team looks to learn from the disappointing finish to prepare for its big race in a couple weeks.
“Some good things happened and we will be able to use those and improve on those and be ready for conference championships in two weeks,” Shane said.
The Cougars’ next race, the West Coast Conference Championships, will be hosted by Pepperdine in Malibu, Cali., on Saturday, Nov. 2. They took 3rd in the 2012 WCC Championships in Portland, Oregon.