The Cougars stay true to the home field advantage in cross country

Conner McMillan and Jonathon Nelson compete in last weekend's cross country meet. (Kensey Berry)
Conner McMillan and Jonathon Nelson compete in last weekend’s cross country meet. (Kensey Berry)

The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams competed this past Saturday, Sept. 13, on their home turf at the BYU Autumn Classic.

Both the men’s and women’s teams succeeded in the BYU Autumn Classic, partly because each squad was familiar with the competition. The men knew the No. 14 ranked UCLA Bruins would be the drive they needed all the way through the finish line.  The women’s team also recognized their main competition, who was No. 25 ranked Minnesota. Both teams responded well, the men placing first and the women placing second overall at the meet.

“I put my top nine guys on the line, because I wanted to see how good we are currently,” BYU men’s coach Ed Eyestone said. “The team understood that anytime you are running at home – you want to win.”

Spencer Gardner led the Cougars to their first place finish, placing second overall and running a time of 20:21.0. Conner Peloquin, running alongside two UCLA runners, realized the intensity of the race and had an impressive finish, placing third overall with a time of 20:22.7.

Conner Peloquin knew that the plan “was to run as a pack and move up gradually throughout the race.”  That strategy helped them pull off the first place finish.

The BYU women’s team decided to race the main squad during the three-mile race at the Autumn Classic. Andrea Nelson Harrison finished first overall and led the cougars to a second place finish.  Harrison started off strong and maintained a steady pace throughout the race, allowing her to control the race from the start and finished with a time of 17:55.6.

“The race will be close until the end,” Coach Patrick Shane said.

Shane also believed that “any one of our top four girls could compete well against any other teams top four.”

Coach Patrick Shane decided against running all the girls last weekend so they could be fresh for the Autumn Classic. The women’s team ran a smart and strategical race.  Although the Cougars ended up taking second place, they were pleased with the individual finishes. Makenna Smith passed two Minnesota girls down the back stretch to finish third overall and second for the cougars, with a time of 18:10.2.  Teammate Carrie Jube also ran a tactical race, finishing third for the team with a time of 18:16.3.

The men’s team will race next at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 3. The women’s team will appear next at the Griak Invitational led by the University of Minnesota on Sept. 27.

Full race results can be found here.

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