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SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Carrie Jube’s second place overall finish led BYU women’s cross country to its first ever West Coast Conference Championship Saturday morning at Baylands Park course in Sunnyvale, California.
“It was a remarkable day team-wise, and individually we had some outstanding performances,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “It was by far our best team race.”
Jube, a junior from Provo, Utah, completed the 6K race in 19:49. Jube stayed near the front the whole race but separated from the lead pack towards the end of the race and actually took the lead for a few minutes. She was eventually passed late in the race but finished comfortably in second place.
“I felt really good about my race,” Jube said. “I went in to the race thinking that my goal would be to place in the top 10. I started out conservatively, but stuck around the front pack and ended up feeling really good. At one point, I decided to make a move and take the lead.”
The Cougars’ top four runners all finished in the top nine with Andrea Nelson Harrison finishing fourth overall with a time of 19:56. Makenna Smith came in sixth with a time of 20:04 and Jennica Redd finished ninth in 20:26.
“For Carrie Jube to be second place in the conference meet was quite a thrill,” Shane said. “Andrea at fourth, was a major improvement from last year. It was another solid race for her. Makenna brought it at sixth and really came on at the end. McKenzie Weir and Kelsey Brown, our fifth and sixth runners, brought it the last mile of the race and our question of finding a fifth runner was answered.”
The course was a mostly flat, sandy, hard-packed trail according to Shane. And BYU’s race strategy was to go out fast, push the pace and finish strong. The Cougars were able to execute their plan well with their top four runners staying in the top 10 the majority of the race.
“Every single athlete ran their race plan perfectly and executed their individual and team goals right down the line,” Shane said.
Winning the conference championship had been a goal of the team all season. But the team knew it would have to run its best race collectively to do it. For Jube, the Cougars had the breakout performance she had hoped for.
“It means a lot to our team and me,” Jube said. “We know the potential that we have. We have been waiting for a breakthrough race for our team to show people what we can do as a team. The talent has always been there but it’s been a long time coming.”
For Harrison, a senior, a team captain, and BYU’s top runner this season, the win was especially gratifying.
“In training we have been really focusing on this race,” Harrison said. “We knew we could do this but we had to do it together. We all needed to step our game up. We saw that happen with so many people. Everyone knew they had to give it their all. To know your team gave everything it had today to become a conference championship means so much.”
The championship is Shane’s 25th conference championship over 35 years of coaching but his first since the 2006 season in the Mountain West Conference.
“Every single one of these girls rose to the occasion and I’m just happy for them,” Shane said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won a conference championship. I’m just really proud of these women.”
Kelsey Brown and Alyssa Steed also had strong performances finishing in sixth and seventh for BYU and 16th and 19th overall, respectively.The Cougars have another bye week before the Mountain Regional Championships on Nov. 14 hosted by the University of New Mexico.
Complete meet results can be found here.
PROVO, Utah – BYU women’s cross country is entering the final third of its season beginning this Saturday at the West Coast Conference Championships hosted by Santa Clara University.
The Cougars have competed at five meets this season, including three large invitationals, and have enjoyed varying levels of success. A fourth place finish at the Notre Dame Invitational among a competitive field showed what BYU is capable of, and is the highlight of the season thus far.
“Our Notre Dame meet we put it together better than any other meet,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said.
The meet was better than all others because the Cougars had their top five runners all within 45 seconds of each other, something the team hasn’t been able to do at any other meet this season.
“That’s what you want on a team,” team captain Andrea Nelson Harrison said. “You want people to be as close as possible to each other because it eliminates points in between. At Notre Dame we were able to do that really well. We knew with the nature of our team this year, we’d have to have a race where everyone was on. That just happened to be a race where everyone was on.”
Having not won a conference championship since joining the West Coast Conference in 2011, BYU hopes to be peaking at the right time. The team will need a Notre Dame-like performance from its top five runners to accomplish that goal.
“We have a bunch of potential fifth runners, we just need one to step up and be about 45 seconds or better behind our first runner,” Shane said. “Our top four seem to be gelling and are solid.”
The top four runners this season have been Harrison, Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd and Makenna Smith. The fifth runner has changed from week to week but Shane believes he may have found his fifth runner heading in to the final stretch.
“What would’ve really helped us at Wisconsin was Marren Haneberg,” Shane said. “She ran in the B race and she was easily our fifth runner time-wise. Had we interjected her in to our team score with her time, we would’ve beaten a few more teams. Putting Marren in to the mix for our next two or three races and then having the rest of our team peak will really help us.”
Last season, San Francisco won the team title, while BYU tied for second but lost a tiebreaker to Portland and finished third in the conference. BYU’s top finisher was Harrison who placed seventh overall.
“We can win the conference championship,” Harrison said. “Especially adding Marren to the mix of our top nine. She’s only made us stronger. It’s going to be tough, but if we come ready to compete at our best we can do it.”
The women’s 6K race begins at 9 a.m. PT. The championship races can be streamed live at TheW.tv.com, the West Coast Conference’s official digital website. The stream will be available at this link. The event can also be followed on social media using the #WCCchamps hashtag.
The nine athletes representing BYU at the championships along with their pictures can found here in the women’s cross country blog.