Elijah Armstrong runs at the WCC Championship on Feb. 24. Armstrong came in seventh and BYU came in first as a team at the WCC, gaining momentum ahead of NCAA nationals. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

BYU cross country transfer Elijah Armstrong hopes to realize national championship aspirations

Former Boise State cross country runner Elijah Armstrong witnessed BYU win the 2019 NCAA Cross Country Championship and now he is running with the Cougars “at the place (he) needed to be.”

“I realized there was no university in the country in terms of standards and values, other than BYU, that upholds that same level of excellence in all categories of life,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong, now a senior, transferred to BYU in hopes to contribute to back-to-back national championships for the Cougars.

“As a team, we have the opportunity to continue that dynasty or legacy. For me to be able to part of that is something special,” Armstrong said.

Elijah Armstrong (far right) running at the West Coast Conference Championship on Feb. 24. Armstrong transferred to BYU to be part of a championship contender team. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

Practice

The biggest difference Armstrong has noticed since transferring to BYU is the intensity of practice.

“There’s a reason BYU has placed top 10 in the NCAA year after year and then comes to win a national championship: it’s because they do national-championship workouts,” Armstrong said.

There are other factors Armstrong has noticed during his time at BYU that differentiate the two programs.

“In terms of the team unity, coaching techniques and everything, it couldn’t more different than Boise State,” Armstrong said. “I think it’s literally black and white, night and day, in comparison.”

The quest for the repeat

The men’s cross country won the WCC Championship on Feb. 24, where Armstrong finished seventh. The team now looks to continue its momentum at the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championship on March 15.

The BYU men’s cross country team celebrating its WCC championship on Feb. 24. The Cougars are looking to repeat as NCAA national champions. (Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)

Even after losing three seniors from the 2019 team, the 2021 squad maybe even stronger, with the underclassmen improving and the addition of Armstrong to the team.

Armstrong hopes to contribute as much as he can at the national championship by giving it his all.

“No matter how much it hurts, I’m going to look to the guy to the right and my left and see them in a BYU jersey and I’m going to stick with it and get after it,” Armstrong said.

When the 2021 NCAA Cross Country National Championship concludes, Armstrong hopes for the same result as 2019, but this time he will be holding a national championship trophy.

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