BYU men’s cross-country placed third and the women took 11th at the NCAA National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday.
This was the closest the Cougars have come to a national championship in nearly 25 years.
Northern Arizona, who coming into the race was the only team ranked above the No. 2 BYU men’s team, came in first. A surprise was BYU finishing behind Portland who they had defeated easily in the West Coast Conference Championship.
“I was proud of the way the team battled even though we fell short of the national championship,” men’s coach Ed Eyestone said. “We would have needed to be perfect to beat NAU today and that was not the case.”
Casey Clinger was BYU’s top runner. He came in 24th with a time of 29:46.32. He was followed by Connor McMillan in 30th and Rory Linkletter in 39th. All three runners received All-American honors.
The women’s team finished the season ranked in the top 15 for the second year in a row.
Their 11th place finish was led by Courtney Wayment, who came in 71st overall. She was followed by Kristi Rush in 76th and Laura Young in 80th.
Fellow NCAA Mountain Region school New Mexico took home the women’s title. BYU had finished third behind the Lobos at regionals and WCC opponent San Francisco finished second.
“I think the ladies performed really well today,” said women’s coach Diljeet Taylor. “Our focus going into the race was just to focus on keeping the pack tight. I’m pretty pleased with finishing right there at 11th in the country.”
The women’s team was ranked No. 14 going into the race.