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Cougars take 23rd in NCAA Championships
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Carrie Jube led BYU women’s cross country team to a 23rd-place finish Saturday at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
“We did our very best,” said BYU head coach Patrick Shane. “We came in ranked 24th and we ended up 23rd. Considering how things went for us, that was really good.”
BYU’s usual top runner, Natalie Shields-Connolly, lost her shoe half a mile into the 6-kilometer race and ended up finishing without it on a cold, unforgiving course with gravel and other rough terrain.
“That made it really, really tough for her,” Shane said. “But she fought hard and ended up second for the team.”
On top of that, another of BYU’s usual top scorers, Jennica Redd, took ill when the team arrived in Louisville on Wednesday, and was not even able to jog the course with the team the day before the meet. Redd finished seventh for the team, striding in with Ashleigh Warner.
Shields-Connolly’s and Redd’s setbacks disrupted the Cougars’ hallmark pack running strategy that has bolstered their performance throughout the season. Usually grouped within about 10 seconds of one another, today’s top four finishers for BYU were gapped at just over half a minute.
“I felt pretty good today,” Jube said. “I definitely felt better than I did at region and conference the last few weeks, and it was nice because I was working with Yesenia (Silva) throughout a lot of the race so I wasn’t completely alone.”
Jube did not know about Shields-Connolly’s shoe situation until the race was over, but knew she was leading the team and had to give it her best.
“It definitely wasn’t ideal circumstances,” Jube said. “I thought for the circumstances, though, our team really stepped it up. Alice (Jensen) and Alyssa (Steed) really stepped up and had good races. That really helped us out, especially with Jenn (Redd) being sick.”
Shane also said he was especially proud of Jensen’s and Steed’s performances today as scorers for the team in a difficult race.
“In the end, we got to nationals and ended up in the top-25 in the nation,” Shane said. “We got it done. 23rd in the nation is a solid, solid effort. It was a great season.”
All but three of BYU’s cross country team will compete on the distance squad in the upcoming track season, but Redd’s eligibility has expired. Steed and Jube will return to BYU after serving LDS missions. Jube will compete in track, but her cross country eligibility has run out.
For complete results, visit the BYU women’s cross country schedule page.
Cougars selected to compete at national championship
PROVO, Utah – The No. 24 BYU women’s cross country team returns to the national stage this Saturday for the Division I NCAA Cross Country Championship in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Qualifying for nationals was a major team goal this season,” said BYU head coach Patrick Shane. “We’re excited to go and compete at the national level. I’ve said all along this is a great cross country team. They’ve earned this.”
The Cougars earned an at-large bid to the championships after one of the best seasons the team has had in a decade, culminating in a fourth place finish at last week’s NCAA Mountain Region Championships. With No. 1 New Mexico and No. 2 Colorado, the Mountain Region is the toughest in the country. No. 21 Utah and No. 25 Weber State will also be competing at nationals.
“Region was fun,” Natalie Shields-Connolly said. “We did a lot better than we did at our conference meet, but there's more we can do, and we're going to do it at nationals. We’re ready.”
Shields-Connolly has consistently earned a place as BYU’s front-runner this year, with Carrie Jube, Jennica Redd and Yesenia Silva making up a very tight pack for BYU’s top four—one of the tightest knit groups in the NCAA. Alice Jensen, Ashleigh Warner and Alyssa Steed will also run in Kentucky.
Jube qualified to compete at nationals as an individual last year and Shields-Connolly ran as part of the 2013 Cougars during her sophomore season. For the rest of the team, it will be their first trip to the NCAA championships.
The women’s race will begin at noon EST.
For live results, visit the BYU women’s cross country schedule page.
A complete list of qualifying teams is listed below:
Women’s Automatic Qualifying Teams
Women’s At-large Teams
No. 1 New Mexico
No. 2 Colorado
No. 3 Arkansas
No. 4 Providence
No. 5 Oregon
No. 6 Michigan
No. 7 Virginia
No. 8 Boise State
No. 9 North Carolina State
No. 9 Penn State
No. 11 Oklahoma State
No. 14 Georgetown
No. 15 Notre Dame
No. 16 Iowa State
No. 18 Syracuse
No. 19 Vanderbilt
No. 20 Mississippi State
No. 12 Washington
No. 13 Stanford
No. 17 Michigan State
No. 21 Utah
No. 22 Princeton
No. 23 Minnesota
No. 24 Brigham Young
No. 25 Villanova
No. 25 Weber State
No. 27 Gonzaga
No. 27 Tulsa
No. 29 San Francisco