BYU athletics ranked in Capital One Cup standings

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BYU women’s volleyball team gathers on the court while getting ready for the NCAA regional. (BYU Photo)

BYU athletics is currently listed as one of the top programs in the country after strong performances by women’s volleyball, women’s cross country and men’s cross country.

BYU is one of only a handful of schools to place in the Capital One Cup top 25 in both the men’s and women’s fall standings.

The Capital One Cup is an NCAA athletics award honoring the top Division I men’s and women’s college athletics programs in the country.

BYU athletics ranked sixth in the women’s standings with 28 points because of its top 10 rankings in volleyball and cross country.

“The No. 6 ranking helps highlight all the women’s teams that are performing well and having success,” women’s volleyball head coach Heather Olmstead said. “We are proud of our team’s performance this year and the opportunity we have to represent BYU.”

Women’s volleyball recorded a 27-1 regular season record. The Cougars went into the NCAA Tournament ranked their highest seed ever in the postseason at No. 4 while also hosting their first NCAA Regional since 1986. The Cougars advanced to the program’s 11th Elite Eight appearance and their first since 2014.

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Erica Birk-Jarvis, left, runs neck-and-neck with an opponent at the NCAA National Championships. (BYU Photo)

“Winning the Capital One Cup would show the strength of our programs united,” said women’s cross country associate head coach Diljeet Taylor. “In the past we’ve had several different programs that have been nationally relevant. With BYU being a contender for the award, it shows that we are becoming even more nationally relevant. It would be a really exciting thing for the department as a whole.”

Women’s cross country had a seventh-place finish at the NCAA National Championships. It was the first time since 2003 the team tallied multiple All-Americans, with Erica Birk-Jarvis and Courtney Wayment receiving All-American honors for their top 40 finishes. Birk-Jarvis finished seventh overall while Wayment finished 23rd.

“I am so grateful to have our program be recognized and nominated for this award. The coaches put so much time and energy into making us the best athletes that we can be,” Birk-Jarvis said. “Being nominated for the cup is a result of our dedication to our goals.”

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Men’s cross country athletes hold their trophies after their second-place finish at the NCAA National Championships on Nov. 17. (BYU Photo)

Men’s cross country contributed a top10 finish of its own, helping BYU’s men’s teams receive recognition in the Capital One Cup men’s top 25. BYU men’s teams are ranked 22nd in the fall standings with 12 points, all coming from the cross country team.

“Our top priorities are to win the conference meet and to place high at the national meet,” men’s cross country head coach Ed Eyestone said. “The fact that meeting these goals helps in the Capital One Cup is icing on the cake to these two goals.”

The men’s second-place finish marks the best finish at the NCAA National Championships in program history. For the first time in BYU men’s cross country history, four runners were named All-Americans in one season. Rory Linkletter, Connor McMillan, Conner Mantz and Clayson Shumway finished in the top 40 and were named All-Americans.

With strong performances in the remaining winter and spring sports, BYU women’s sports have the opportunity to bring home the Capital One Cup and $200,000 in scholarship funds to its athletics department and to be honored at the ESPYS in July.

Over the eight Capital One Cup seasons, the program has donated $3.2 million to the scholarship funds of winning schools. Half of the donation goes to men’s and half to women’s programs.

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