No. 3 Cougars ready for regionals
PROVO, Utah – No. 3 BYU men’s cross country can punch its ticket to the NCAA Championships this Friday afternoon when they compete at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
The Cougars can add more accolades to their already outstanding year at the penultimate meet of the season, but coach Ed Eyestone views this race mainly as a stepping stone to his team’s ultimate goal.
“I tend to think of regionals kind of like a preliminary heat in a big meet,” Eyestone said. “You want to advance safely without giving your coach a heart attack, but you don’t want to exert so much energy that you’re exhausted for the final. We’ll run hard but safe.”
Eyestone added what it will take to ensure that his team receives one of 31 available entries to the NCAA Championships.
“We need to be in the top two to get an automatic bid,” Eyestone said. “We could probably finish as low as fourth place and still be safe to receive an at-large bid because of the number of points we’ve received from good performances throughout the year. Our goal is to run for one of the automatic spots, and I’d be surprised if we finished any lower than second place.”
BYU will face a quick turnaround of only eight days between Friday’s race in Albuquerque and the NCAAs held in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, Nov. 21. Up to this point of the season, the Cougars have had two weeks to recover between each meet. To compensate for the dip in rest between events, Eyestone is shuffling his lineup to ensure his team has fresh legs with a national title on the line.
“One of the ways we make sure the team is strong at the NCAAs is to run a couple of our substitute guys this round,” Eyestone said. “Then we’ll go with our top seven fresh guys at the national meet.”
BYU will be without Jonathan Harper and Nicolas Montanez on Friday for some extra rest going into nationals. West Coast Conference Athlete of the Year Aaron Fletcher and WCC Freshman of the Year Dallin Farnsworth will lead a Cougars team that will also include Connor McMillan, Dallin Taylor, Dylan Shawhan, Mitchell Briggs and Clayton Young on the 10,000-meter course. The Cougars expect another big-time performance from the runners in uniform.
“The great thing about our team is that we have wonderful depth and because of our it, I think we can sub in a couple of guys and still be very strong and competitive,” Eyestone said.
The men’s 10k race will begin at 1 p.m. MST on the University of New Mexico North Golf Course.
There will not be a live stream for this event, but live results can be found on the BYU men’s cross country schedule page. In addition, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association has created a National Results Wall live blog that will provide play-by-play updates from each of the nine regional championships held across the country this weekend. The site can be accessed here. You can find BYU-specific updates on various social media outlets by searching #D1Mountain.
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