Oct 31 | 12:00 PM
West Coast Conference

Plantes Ferry Park

12308 E Upriver Dr Spokane WA 99216

Blake Dorton | Posted: 31 Oct 2015 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Blake Dorton

BYU claims WCC Championship with dominant victory


SPOKANE, Wash. – A dominant team score of 17 points, led by first place overall finisher Aaron Fletcher, gave No. 4 BYU men’s cross country its third West Coast Conference championship in five seasons since becoming a member of the conference.

BYU was just two points shy of a perfect team score on Saturday as the Cougars soundly defeated second place Portland (66 points). BYU coach Ed Eyestone won WCC Coach of the Year honors and he had high praise for his team’s effort.

“We ran to our potential today,” Eyestone said. “That’s all you can ever hope for as a coach and we certainly did that. I felt like we had a chance to put three guys up at the front, and I was hoping our four through nine runners would offer some good support. As the race went along, our group of three broke away along with a runner from San Francisco, and our four through seven runners in particular had great races. There was a wall of white BYU uniforms out in front from about the halfway point on. It’s a really good feeling to see that as a cross country coach.”

Fletcher was voted WCC Athlete of the Year following the race. The Cougars completed the sweep of all of the major conference awards as Dallin Farnsworth was named WCC Freshman of the Year. Fletcher and Farnsworth, as well as five of their teammates, Connor McMillan, Nicolas Montanez, Dallin Taylor, Dylan Shawhan and Mitchell Briggs were named first-team All-WCC selections after Saturday’s performance.

Fletcher and Taylor were also selected to the WCC All-Academic team. Steve Morrin, while not in uniform Saturday, received WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention.

“I’m not sure if this is the most dominant conference meet we’ve ever had, but it’s definitely the most dominant performance in a really long time,” Eyestone said. “We have a very good team. It’s a very special team. I think our team depth, combined with Portland losing some seniors from last year, put us in a very good position for this year’s conference meet.”

Fletcher (first), Montanez (second) and Farnsworth (third) led the field from the sounding of the gun. A strong fourth place performance from San Francisco’s Alex Short prevented the Cougars from winning with a perfect score of 15. Taylor (fifth) and McMillan (sixth) were the final runners to figure in the scoring for BYU. While not a factor in scoring, the Cougars’ team depth was on full display as Shawhan (seventh), Briggs (eighth), Jonathan Harper (15th) and Clayton Young (26th) each had quality performances compared to the rest of the 77-man field.

“I think it’s just a solid group of guys,” Eyestone said after the race. “It’s a young team, so they don’t take anything for granted. They feel like they have to work for everything they get and they have no sense of entitlement. They know they’re good, but they also know they have to work very hard and they’re not afraid to do that.”

Fletcher’s dramatic improvement during his senior campaign has played a huge part in the Cougars’ overwhelming success in 2015. Eyestone believes his No. 1 runner’s leadership role on this year’s squad is paying dividends on the field.

“I think it started over the summer when he took ownership of being one of the team captains,” Eyestone said. “He has taken that responsibility very seriously. He trained very hard during the summer months, and he was in great shape at the start of the season. I’m very proud of him. It’s great for him to win the conference championship as a senior. It’s a really nice feather he can put in his cap.”

While in the midst of a seemingly dream season, Eyestone knows there is still much his team can accomplish this year.

“We still have to run well at the regional and national meets,” he said. “Winning the conference championship was one of our biggest goals for the year. Now our focus shifts to the task at hand which is to prepare for and run well at the national meet.”

Up next for BYU are the NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday, Nov. 13. Broadcast information will be updated as it becomes available.

For complete race results, visit the BYU men’s cross country schedule page or wccsports.com.

To view the complete WCC All-Academic team, visit wccsports.com.


Blake Dorton | Posted: 30 Oct 2015 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Blake Dorton

BYU looks to capture third WCC title in five years


PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s cross country prepares to head to Spokane, Wash. as the favorite to win the West Coast Conference Championships on Saturday. The Cougars are riding the momentum after a head-turning, second-place finish at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational – one that vaulted them to No. 4 in America.

At the start of each season, BYU coach Ed Eyestone pays particular attention to two events. The WCC Championships are one of them.

“As you look at your year, the two big meets you really want to do well in are the conference meet and the national meet,” Eyestone said. “This is the second-biggest meet of the year.”

BYU will look to win its third conference crown in five seasons since becoming a member of the WCC. With perennial power Portland in the middle of a relative down year, the Cougars will toe the line on Halloween as the odds-on pick to accomplish their goal of winning a conference title. However, Eyestone is not taking anything for granted.

“Since we joined the WCC, we’ve split back and forth with Portland every year,” he said. “We should win it this time, and I think we’re in a good place to do that. However, one thing we’ve learned is during those years where one team is favored, it sometimes ends up being very close. Last year is a great example. Portland had a very good team – they ended up in the top four at the NCAA’s – but they only beat us by a couple of points.”

BYU does have a number of factors playing to its advantage going into the 8,000-meter clash. At the forefront of Eyestone’s mind is his team’s health.

“Everyone is feeling pretty good,” Eyestone said. “As well as we ran in Wisconsin, we had some guys who were sick or injured. Right now, the guys are feeling healthy, so I think we can be just as good if not better this week. I think it can be a good meet for us as long as things stay that way.”

BYU’s chances of winning Saturday with an able-bodied squad will be boosted even more because of what happened earlier this season. The Cougars have already won on the Plantes Ferry Park course, taking the WCC Preview in September. Gonzaga was the only other conference school on the course that day, taking second.

Team depth has been a pillar of strength for the Cougars all season. In addition to winning a team title, BYU’s top two, Dallin Farnsworth and Aaron Fletcher, have a chance to cement themselves as leading candidates for the WCC Cross Country Athlete of the Year award. Strength up and down the lineup is a calming reassurance for the whole team.

“We have a strong top three that I think can compete for a win,” Eyestone said. “(Jonathan) Harper had a really strong week of practice. He’s closed some of the gap as the No. 4 man. After that, I think any one of our guys can vie for spots five through nine. It’s nice to know we have that kind of depth. It helps me sleep a little better at night.”

BYU will have its top nine runners in uniform tomorrow. Farnsworth and Fletcher will be flanked out front by Nos. 3 and 4, Connor McMillan and Jonathan Harper. Mitchell Briggs, Dylan Shawhan, Clayton Young, Dallin Taylor and Nicolas Montanez round out the nine that will travel to Washington.

“I think we’re well prepared,” Eyestone said. “The guys are excited about it. We’ll go in fully loaded, not taking anything for granted, and try to win the thing back. Portland got us last year; we’re going to get them back this year.”

The men’s 8k race will begin at 10 a.m. PST.

For links to live results and video, visit the BYU men’s cross country schedule page.