Cross Country Runs at Pre-Nationals
TERRE HAUTE -- Kassi Andersen placed third and led No. 6 BYU to a fourth place finish in the women's 6k Blue Race at the Pre-National Meet on Saturday.
The No. 9 men's team was led by Chandler Goodwin (21) to a ninth place finish in their White Race.
"I just tried to stick with the program," said Andersen. "My strategy was to run up with the top group. I tried to stick mentally tough with it and stay with those top girls, hang on to the end."
With a total of 73 women's teams participating in the meet, they were broken up into two separate races (Blue and White). BYU's fourth place finish came behind No. 1 Stanford, Minnesota and Arizona State. In the corresponding White Race, North Carolina finished first, with Michigan and Wisconsin tying for second.
"We've never run great at this meet as a team," said Shane. "But I'm happy with our effort at this point in the season. We got a good look at a new course, one that we'll be running on again later in the season. It's a little more challenging than the ones in the past."
Andersen crossed the finish line with a time of 20:22.1. Amber Duffin finished second for the Cougars (34), followed by Amy Fowler (38), Breanne Sandberg (71) and Anne Heiner (96).
In addition to the Blue Race, the women were represented in the Women's Open Race. Sarah Ingebretsen led BYU along with Tawny Bybee, coming in 17th and 18th, respectively.
These seven girls, along with Jenna Taylor Jensen and Lisa Frischknecht, both of whom also participated in the Blue Race, will be the top nine runners competing in the upcoming conference meet.
"I think we'll improve over the second half of the season," said Shane. "Hopefully we'll be able to get home, recover and get another good week of training in and prepare for a good run at the conference meet. We have a chance to be a top 5 team in the nation."
The BYU men ran without their top performer, senior Josh Rohatinsky. Though he made the trip, it was a last minute decision to keep him out of the race due to a sore muscle in his lower leg.
"We decided to play it safe and held him out," said head coach Ed Eyestone. "It made a difference of about 80 points. I told the guys that there are two things you can do in a situation like this. Either step up to the occasion and run well, or crumble. I think they ran well."
Without the help of Rohatinsky, Goodwin led his team with a time of 24:02.4, placing 21st. He was followed by Dustin Bybee (24:28.2), Jacob Gustafsson (24:38.1), Kyle Perry (24:38.9) and Tyrel Jensen (24:48.0).
"I think all the other guys ran about where they should have," said Eyestone. "Chandler had a nice solid race, but we were just missing our number one guy."
The men's ninth place finish out of 36 teams in the 8k White Race was led by No. 5 Iona, Stanford and Florida. Colorado finished first in the Blue Race.
The men's team was also represented in the Men's Open Race by four runners. Alden Bahr was the top finisher with a 12th place finish and a time of 24:55.0. Eyestone was also pleased with the performance of Jason Dorias.
"Those guys are battling," he said. "They're putting themselves in a position where they may end up joining our top seven. Cross country is all about being healthy at the right time."
As the team travels back to Provo, health is the first priority. Eyestone hopes this issue will be alleviated as a result of keeping both Rohatinsky and Dan Hinckley out of Saturday's race.
"We need to make sure we're 100%," said Eyestone. "We're still a top 5, top 6 team, but we need to bring everybody. We can't leave our best guys at home."
Up next both teams will spend the next two weeks preparing for the MWC Championships to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 28.
WOMEN'S BLUE RACE
3 KASSI ANDERSEN 20:22.1
34 AMBER DUFFIN 20:54.5
38 AMY FOWLER 20:58.7
71 BREANNE SANDBERG 21:22.7
96 ANNE HEINER 21:39.5
100 JENNA TAYLOR JENSEN 21:41.0
109 LISA FRISCHKNECHT 21:44.4
WOMEN'S OPEN RACE
17 SARAH INGEBRETSEN 21:52.5
18 TAWNY BYBEE 21:52.9
28 KATIE PORTER 22:11.8
70 WENDY HARRIS 22:36.8
74 ANGELA PETERSON 22:38.8
MEN'S WHITE RACE
21 CHANDLER GOODWIN 24:02.4
51 DUSTIN BYBEE 24:28.2
69 JACOB GUSTAFSSON 24:38.1
70 KYLE PERRY 24:38.9
88 TYREL JENSEN 24:48.0
125 RYAN MERRIMAN 25:03.0
131 BRANDON HEBBERT 25:06.4
MEN'S OPEN RACE
12 ALDEN BAHR 24:55.2
19 JASON DORIAS 25:01.0
73 WARREN DAVIS 25:38.0
83 BRETT ANDRUS 25:43.6
Cougars Set To Run at Pre-Nationals
PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's cross country teams will prepare to face serious competition as they travel to Terre Haute, Ind. and race in the Pre-National meet on Saturday.
"We're hoping to do very well," said men's head coach Ed Eyestone.
The Pre-National meet will host close to 80 teams from around the country. The teams will be evenly divided into either the Blue or White race, depending on their rankings in this week's national polls.
"We'll have to compete against close to 40 teams," said women's head coach Patrick Shane. "We won't be running against all the top teams, like I would prefer, but the half we'll run against will be pretty tough. This will be the most competitive meet we've run in so far."
All-American Kassi Andersen, along with Breanne Sandberg, Amy Fowler and Amber Duffin, will lead the No. 6 ranked women's team.
"I'm looking forward to this," said Shane. "This will be the first time we're lining all of our top five up on the same day. Kassi has been our leader all year long and we also have some good middle depth in the other three girls."
Traditionally the team has not performed as well at Pre-Nationals as they would have liked to. Last year the women had a fourth place tie with North Carolina State. This year Shane hopes to leave that tradition behind.
"I would anticipate us having a good race," he said.
The No. 9 men's traveling team will consist of its top 12 runners, except for Dan Hinckley who is suffering from injury.
After spending the last two weeks training and holding workouts, the team is ready for competition. Josh Rohatinsky will lead the Cougars, along with junior Chandler Goodwin.
"We will take a good group and this will help us define our top nine guys," said Eyestone. "Early season meets are just that. The last meet at Oregon was the first of any significance."
Because the meet has been held at this same course for the past few years, most of the runners are already familiar with it, but running with a crowd of about 250 takes some getting used to.
"Besides Josh and Chandler, the guys need to find each other and run as a pack," said Eyestone. "We need to try and close the gap between our first and second runner, and third through seventh. The pack of five needs to get closer to Chandler, and Chandler needs to get closer to Josh."