The cross country season is underway with strong performances of the BYU men and women runners at the Autumn Classic on Sept. 5. The men took the top four spots and the women took places three through seven.
This was the first and only home meet of the season and which made it extra special for the Cougars.
“Being at home is special because it is familiar,” junior captain Jennica Redd said. “You know the terrain you’re running on and you know the competitors. You’ve got to win on your home turf.”
The men raced first and had a dominating performance.
“When you can put six or seven of your runners in front of UVU, who have a solid program, you feel pretty good about things. It was a nice home opener for us,” men’s head coach Ed Eyestone said.
In the top four spots were Dallin Farnsworth in first place (19:45), Aaron Fletcher in second (19:48), Connor McMillan in third (19:53) and Clayton Young in fourth (20:03). BYU’s finish is indicative of the race where BYU was in charge.
“Today we wanted to go and control it, and it worked out well,” Fletcher said. “We wanted to control it for the first two or three miles at a nice, workout pace because it’s the first meet of the season and it’s a long seasons. So to be in peak form now, we won’t be in peak form at the end.”
Fletcher led the race for nearly the duration, but near the finish line, Farnsworth out kicked him.
“I didn’t think I was going to get him actually,” said Farnsworth. “I didn’t really look over the side to see him there like I was expecting. He’s been a great team leader for me.”
Only six members of the team ran with a BYU jersey on, a few others ran unattached. Coach Eyestone said that this was because he wasn’t sure how they were going to figure in to the team. He said some performed admirably.
“Steve Morrin was one the unattached runners, Nico Montanez was another. They ran well enough in my mind that I’m going to go back to the office and take a good solid look at it,” Eyestone said. “They certainly made a compelling argument to be running in uniform when we go up to Spokane.”
For the women, this race was one they wanted to win, but also to transition into the season.
“Today, we just went out and were trying to hang back that first mile,” BYU women’s head coach Patrick Shane said. “Then, as we looked at what Weber was doing, I just asked the girls to go and match up and they did. Mainly we wanted to win it and see where some of our new people were.”
Despite an early lead from Weber State, the BYU women did as their coach asked and battled back to a very tight-knit finish. BYU took places three to seven leading with strong performances by Redd (17:34.7), Emma Gee (17:35.3) and Yesenia Silva (17:35.4).
BYU only returned two runners from last year, so the performance from true freshman Gee and transfer student Silva was a nice surprise.
Silva said that her first race as a Cougar felt good and that she is excited to be here.
The next meet for both teams is the WCC Preview in Spokane, Washington on Sept. 19. Both are picked to win the conference this year.