BYU cross country wins WCC title

No. 9 BYU women’s team leads at the start of the WCC Championship race on Oct. 27. (Rachel Keeler)

BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams took first place at the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championships at the East Bay Golf Course on Oct. 27.

Both BYU teams set new records and had many notable outcomes from the races. The women went first with a 6k race followed by the men’s 8k race.

BYU runners Erica Birk-Jarvis and Courtney Wayment and Portland runner Lauren LaRocco led the pack and set an average mile time of 5:15. Wayment fell behind, but LaRocco and Birk-Jarvis went head-to-head until the last 800 meters where Birk-Jarvis took the lead across the finish line.

“I’m just proud of myself for even running with (LaRocco) because she is good,” Birk-Jarvis said. “I was really proud of (Wayment) and I for taking it out hard and not leaving it up to chance.”

Birk-Jarvis placed first with a time of 19:45.6, finishing six seconds ahead of the second-place runner, LaRocco. BYU placed six of the top 10 spots with Wayment in third (20:20.0), Olivia Hoj in sixth (20:58:4), Aubrey Frentheway in eighth (21:11:.3), Sara Musselman in ninth (21:14.3) and Anna Camp in 10th (21:16.0).

The No. 9 BYU women’s team took the WCC championship title, their second title win since entering the conference.

“I think this was the best-case scenario for us,” said women’s coach Diljeet Taylor. “That individual win was huge for Erica and also getting the team win. Those were both of our goals coming into today.”

Birk-Jarvis is the first BYU runner to win the WCC individual title. In addition, the team won three individual WCC awards; Birk-Jarvis won Runner of the Week, Frentheway won Freshman of the Year and Taylor won Coach of the Year.

The No. 2 BYU men’s team started strong with a sea of white Cougar jerseys leading the pack. The men’s team also placed six of the top 10 spots.

Connor McMillan took second (23:23.0), Conner Mantz placed third (23:24.7), followed by Rory Linkletter in fourth (23:31.9), Brayden McLelland in fifth (23:39.1), Jacob Heslington in seventh (23:47.3) and Clayson Shumway in eighth (23:50.6).

McLelland was neck and neck with San Francisco’s Chris Olley, but as they came onto the straight way, McLelland pulled ahead and beat out his opponent.

Brayden McLelland hugs a family member after he crosses the finish line at the WCC championships on Oct. 27. (Rachel Keeler)

“Brayden McLelland stepped up for us,” head coach Ed Eyestone said. “I was really pleased with his race and think it was the best of his collegiate career.”

Though none of the BYU runners took the individual title, the team won their fourth consecutive title and their sixth since entering the WCC seven years ago.

“We got out front early like we wanted to and ran like a team,” Eyestone said. “The two-three combo of Connor McMillan and Conner Mantz worked for us and gave them experience running up front.”

Eyestone won WCC Coach of the Year award for the sixth time since 2011.

BYU will be hosting the 2018 NCAA Mountain Regional Championships at the East Bay Golf Course on Nov. 9.

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