PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's cross country teams opened the season strong by winning both team and individual titles in the Cross Country Triple Crown Saturday. Junior Dula Parkinson finished first in the men's four-mile race, crossing the line in 20:06.2, and senior Sharolyn Shields-Thayer paced the women with a 17:28.0 finish in the three-mile race.
On the men's side, the meet gave BYU a look at some of its upcoming competition, as the Cougars edged out No. 23 Weber State. The Wildcats were ranked ten places higher than BYU in the preseason polls, and they will be running in the NCAA Mountain Regional. Weber State seniors Joe Wilson and Jason Schoenfeld led for most of the race, but with under 400 meters to go Parkinson out-kicked the pair to take the win. Wilson (20:10.8) and Schoenfeld (20:12.0) finished in second and third place, respectively, follwed by BYU senior John Hedengren (20:12.7) and freshman Josh Rohatinsky (20:16.4). Weber then took the 6th and 8th positions, while BYU rounded out their top five with junior Ben Wynn in 7th and sophomore Andy Carman in 9th.
In their first competition since winning the 1999 National Championship, the No. 6 BYU women posted a solid team effort taking five of the first seven positions. After running together in the lead pack for the entire race, Shields-Thayer and sophomores Lindsey Thomsen (17:30.0) and Sarah Ellett (17:31.9) finished 1-2-3 for BYU. Washington senior Melinda Campbell (17:40.3) crossed the line in fourth place, and sophomore Kate Bradshaw (17:42.3) finished in sixth for the Huskies, but the race belonged to BYU. Reshirt freshmen Nan Evans (17:41.0) and Katie Martin (17:49.8) crossed the line in fifth and seventh to give the Cougars a team score of just 18.
On Friday, the BYU women travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to run in the Great American Festival, while the men will run in the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday.
University Men's 4 Mile
1. Dula Parkinson BYU 20:06.3
2. Joe Wilson Weber State 20:10.8
3. Jason Schoenfeld Weber State 20:12.0
4. John Hedengren BYU 20:12.7
5. Josh Rohatinsky BYU 20:16.4
6. Jeremy Tolman Weber State 20:18.6
7. Benjamin Wynn BYU 20:21.9
8. Joel Atwater Weber State 20:27.5
9. Andy Carman BYU 20:45.2
10. Mike Thatcher BYU 20:50.5
1. BYU 1, 4, 5, 7, 9 = 26
2. Weber State 2, 3, 6, 8,12 = 31
University Women's 3 Mile
1. Sharolyn Shields-Thayer BYU 17:28.0
2. Lindsey Thomsen BYU 17:30.0
3. Sarah Ellett BYU 17:31.9
4. Melinda Campbell Washington 17:40.3
5. Nan Evans BYU 17:41.0
6. Kate Bradshaw Washington 17:42.3
7. Katie Martin BYU 17:49.8
8. Melanie Steere BYU 17:53.1
9. Rebecca Bennion Weber State 17:54.4
10. Cynthia Losee Weber State 18:02.8
1. BYU 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 = 18
2. Washington 4, 6,11,16,17 = 54
3. Weber State 9,10,13,14,15 = 61
The BYU men's and women's cross country teams will open the season Saturday as they host The 2000 Cross Country Triple Crown. In their first defense of last year's national title, the 6th-ranked Cougar women will run against No. 13 Washington and No. 26 Weber State. The BYU men's team, ranked No. 33 in the preseason poll, will square off against Weber State's 23rd-ranked team. Utah Valley State College and Paradise Valley Community College will compete in the junior college division. The meet will be held at the Cougar Track complex, with the University races capping off an entire day of cross country competition.
Despite losing three All-Americans from last year's championship team, the BYU women will look to build on a strong core to make another run for the top of the polls. The Cougars lost seniors Elizabeth Jackson and Kara Ormond to graduation, and junior Laura Heiner will miss the next two seasons while serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But BYU still returns two All-Americans in senior Sharolyn Shields and junior Tara Northcutt. Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Sarah Ellett will also be back, as will senior Tara Haynes, who was the fourth BYU finisher on the 1997 national championship team.
After winning the inaugural Mountain West Conference title and making it to the NCAA Championships last year, the BYU men's team will look to improve on a solid season. Junior John Hedengren was the first Cougar finisher in every race except one last season, and he led BYU to the conference championship by winning the individual title as a sophomore. Also returning to the lineup will be senior Nathan Harrison and junior Dula Parkinson, who both ran for BYU at the District meet and the National Championships last year. To add to their roster, the Cougars will welcome the addition of several top prep runners. Freshman Josh Rohatinsky was a four-time individual state champion at Provo (UT) High, and placed in the top five at the Footlocker Nationals his junior and senior years.
The Cross Country Triple Crown will be an all-day event, starting with a 5K Open race at 8:30 am. Elementary school 1-mile races will be run for each grade level, beginning at 9:00 am. The High School races will begin at 3:30 p.m., and will feature several nationally ranked programs, including the No. 2 Mountain View boy's team and the No. 13 Mountain View girl's team.
8:30 am Open 5K
9:00 am Elementary School 1 Mile Runs
3:30 pm High School JV Boy's 5K
4:00 pm High School JV Girl's 5K
4:30 pm High School Varsity Boy's 5K
5:00 pm High School Varsity Girl's 5K
5:30 pm University/JC Men's 4 Mile
6:00 pm University/JC Women's 4 Mile