Men take second, women finish seventh at NCAA National Championships
MADISON, Wis. – Erica Birk-Jarvis and Conner Mantz finished in the top-10 of their respective races to help propel BYU cross country to a men’s second-place finish and a women’s seventh-place finish at the NCAA National Championships at Thomas Zimmer Championship Course.
This marks the first time in school history that both the men’s and women’s teams finished inside the top-seven at the national meet. The men’s second-place finish matched their No. 2 national ranking heading into the race while the women placed two spots higher than their No. 9 ranking.
“I’m ecstatic with how we finished today,” BYU associate head women’s coach Diljeet Taylor said. “Halfway through the race, I saw the ladies racing with such heart. I’m very proud of their performance and how we ended the season.”
Birk-Jarvis ran with the front pack for the whole race before crossing the finish line seventh overall, leading the Cougars to take seventh with 310 points. Courtney Wayment finished close behind Birk-Jarvis in 23rd place for BYU. Both runners received All-America honors for their top-40 finish, the first time since 2003 that the women’s team has had multiple All-Americans.
“Erica put herself in it and gave it all she had,” coach Taylor said. “I’m so proud of the grit she showed and the passion she showed. How Courtney raced just goes to show you how tough she is. She had bad stomach flu earlier this week and was in the ER. If anyone could bounce back from that, it would be Courtney.”
Olivia Hoj scored next for the Cougars when she placed 83rd overall. In her first collegiate race, freshman Sadie Sargent came in 124th and was the fourth BYU runner to finish. Fellow freshman Aubrey Frentheway rounded out BYU’s five scorers placing 150th overall.
Women’s Team Notables
- Coach Diljeet Taylor’s second top-10 finish in her three years at BYU
- Highest finish since taking second in 2003
- First time having multiple All-Americans since 2003
“We had a team performance that got us second place,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “I’m pleased with the overall effort of the team. It has been an emphasis all year long. We’ve wanted to run as a falanga, which is Greek for phalanx, which is where you support your teammates.”
Mantz raced similarly to his Pre-Nationals performance, pushing the pace while leading the men’s pack for the majority of the race before taking 10th. All-Americans Rory Linkletter and Connor McMillan crossed next for the Cougars finishing 22nd and 24th, respectively. Clayson Shumway used a final kick to fend off potential passers to place 32nd overall with Jacob Heslington finishing 50th for BYU’s final scoring position.
"I’m very pleased with Conner Mantz for putting himself out there and leading for most of the race,” Eyestone said. “Whenever you have a teammate that is doing that up front, it makes you want to rise up and run that way as well.”
For the first time in school history, the BYU men’s team had four members of the team receive All-America honors with Linkletter, Mantz, McMillan and Shumway finishing in the top-40. The Cougars also had their best team-performance at Nationals in BYU history with a low score of 116 points and a second-place finish.
“The fact we had four All-Americans, that’s the type of performance you need to finish as high as we did,” Eyestone said. “As a result of the All-Americans’ efforts, we were able to get that second-place performance.”
Men’s Team Notables
- Best finish in school history with 116-point performance leading to second place
- Had the most runners named All-Americans in one year (four)
- Coach Eyestone’s best team-finish and eighth top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships as BYU’s head coach
BYU cross country set to compete at NCAA Championships
PROVO, Utah – The top-10 ranked BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams will race against the nation’s best in the NCAA National Championships at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The No. 9 women will compete in a 6K and the No. 2 men will follow with a 10K. BYU will be racing against the best teams in the country including the defending champions, No. 1 Northern Arizona on the men’s side and No. 1 New Mexico for the women.
“We’ve made some really good adjustments with every meet getting a little better each time,” BYU associate head women’s coach Diljeet Taylor said. “I’m excited to see the girls step up. Historically, our girls have run well in the championship portion of every season so I’m looking forward to seeing their hard work come together for a solid result.”
The No. 9 women’s team advanced to the NCAA Championships due to an at-large bid following a third-place finish at the Mountain Region Championships and strong performance in the other meets this season. Led by All-American Erica Birk-Jarvis, the Cougars placed fourth at the Pre-Nationals Invitational and first at the West Coast Conference Championships.
The women’s team will be represented at nationals by Birk-Jarvis, Courtney Wayment, Olivia Hoj, Anna Camp, Sara Musselman, Sadie Sargent and Aubrey Frentheway. Birk-Jarvis, Wayment, Hoj, Camp, Musselman and Frentheway were all named to All-WCC First Team and Birk-Jarvis, Wayment, Hoj and Camp received all-region honors.
“This is definitely a team that has the potential to do better than we’ve done in previous years,” Taylor said. “We understand at the NCAA Championships that anything is possible. If they execute and run with heart like they did at regionals, we’ll see a fun finish.”
Women’s Team Notables
- The women’s team has advanced to the NCAA National Championships for the fourth-straight year
- The Cougars finished eleventh overall at the 2017 NCAA National Championships
- The BYU women took first at the NCAA National Championships in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2002
“We’re excited for the opportunity to go to the national meet,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We’re ranked No. 2 right now and we know it’s going to a battle with NAU because they are a very strong team. We’ve come up with a plan and if we execute well, I think we have a chance to do some really good things.”
The No. 2 men’s team automatically qualified for the championships after a second-place finish at the Mountain Region Championships. Prior to the Mountain Region Championships, the Cougars placed first at every other meet this season, including the Pre-Nationals Invitational and the West Coast Conference Championships. The men’s individual and team finishes have prepared them to compete at the national level.
Rory Linkletter, Connor McMillan, Conner Mantz, Jacob Heslington and Clayson Shumway will represent the Cougars in Wisconsin, along with the final two runners being a race-day decision. All five of the announced men’s team competitors earned All-WCC First Team honors and all-region honors.
“It’s all built up to this,” Eyestone said. “We’ve had the understanding that we wanted to save something for Nationals. We timed our training this year to hopefully have our best performance on Saturday.”
Men’s Team Notables
- The men’s team has advanced to the NCAA National Championships every year since 1999
- The Cougars finished third at the 2017 NCAA National Championships
- The BYU men’s best result at the NCAA National Championships was a second-place finish in 1993
The NCAA Championships will take place at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin, with the women’s 6K beginning at 10:45 a.m. CST followed by the men’s 10K at 11:45 a.m. CST. The meet will be streamed live on FloTrack and live stats are available here. Follow the BYU cross country Instagram and Twitter accounts for updates on the race.