Thomas Zimmer Championship Course
9002 Country Road PD Madison WI 53593
BYU punches its ticket to nationals at Wisconsin Invitational
MADISON, Wis. – A ninth place finish by No. 22 BYU's women's cross country team at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational Friday morning has paved its way to nationals.
“That was a great race for us,” said BYU head coach Patrick Shane. “We were ninth place, just behind Washington, and we just punched our ticket to nationals right there—we will be going.”
The Cougars will likely need a third-place finish at the NCAA Mountain Region Championship next month to clinch a berth to nationals, but Shane is confident going forward.
After a lightning start from Yesenia Silva with the gun, BYU grouped up and nestled into 11th place for about six kilometers, running in their now-typical pack of Natalie Shields-Connolly, Silva, Carrie Jube and Jennica Redd. They wouldn’t edge into top-10 territory until the final two kilometers, a hallmark of coach Shane’s racing strategy.
“Team running was the theme here,” Shane said. “All the top-four could almost reach out and touch each other in the middle of the race. And then the next three were back there running together in a group, too: Alice Jensen, Alyssa Steed and Ashleigh Warner. It was a great example of team running, and that’s what really does it in cross country.”
Shields-Connolly has led the Cougars the last two races, placing 40th overall Friday.
“It went great,” Shields-Connolly said. “Our team came here to be top-10 and we were ninth so we’re really excited and really happy with how we did.
The Cougars have moved up steadily in the rankings throughout the season, starting the year in 26th and eventually moving up to 22nd. Friday’s performance should propel them into the top-15 and possibly higher. Coach Shane hopes for top-10:
“I told them, ‘we’re top-10, ladies,’” Shane said. “I said ‘I’ve been around a long time and I know a top-10 team when I see one. You girls are going to stand top-10.'”
BYU will compete in the West Coast Conference Championship in Spokane, Washington on October 31st. Nine runners will compete for the Cougars, including Laura Young, who ran first for the team in Wisconsin’s open meet Friday afternoon.
For complete results, visit xc.tfrrs.org.
BYU faces field of top-ranked harriers
PROVO, Utah – No. 22 BYU women’s cross country will face 19 of the best collegiate teams in America at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Friday.
The Cougars have slowly moved up in the polls each week since the season began, reaching 22nd after a strong fourth-place showing at the Washington Invitational two weeks ago against No. 4 Oregon, No. 9 Stanford and No. 10 Washington. BYU will get another crack at Washington this weekend.
“Next to nationals, it will be the biggest meet we run in,” said BYU head coach Patrick Shane. “Basically you go to Wisconsin or you go to Pre-nationals to get criteria points to ensure you can go to the national championship.”
The top two teams in each geographic regional meet automatically qualify to compete at nationals. BYU’s region features No. 1 New Mexico and No. 2 Colorado, so BYU sits with a likelihood of clenching 3rd place in the Mountain Region Championship on November 13. The Cougars will have to earn criteria points to compete at nationals as an at-large bid, and Coach Shane says the best place to do that is at Wisconsin.
“Wisconsin is by far the best place to get those,” Shane said. “When you look at the teams going, five of the top-10 teams are going to be there and every team ranked 10th through 23rd will be there too. It’s amazing—absolutely the place you want to be this weekend.”
The Cougars have defined their identity this season as one of the tightest packs in women’s cross country. All five scoring runners finished within 18 seconds of each other in the Washington 6k, an almost unprecedented feat at this level of competition. A similar performance in Wisconsin could place the Cougars virtually anywhere on the finishing block.
“I’m incredibly pleased with where we stand,” Shane said. “But this will determine a much more accurate poll.”
The Wisconsin Adidas Invitational is being held at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course with an “A” and a “B” race. The hashtag for the meet will be #adidasinvite. Live results and video can be found on the BYU women’s cross country schedule page.
BYU “A” race representatives: Natalie Shields-Connolly, Alice Jensen, Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd, Yesenia Silva, Alyssa Steed and Ashleigh Warner.
BYU “B” race representatives: Niki Barrow, Erica Birk, Kelsey Braithwaite, Rachel Cannon, Emma Gee, Lauren Shubin and Laura Young.