Cross country set for final curtain call at WCC Championships
PROVO, Utah — No. 2/No. 5 BYU men’s and women’s cross country will compete in their final West Coast Conference Cross Country Championships on Oct. 28 at Fernhill Park in Portland, Oregon.
- Date: Friday, Oct. 28
- Location: Fernhill Park, Portland, Oregon
- Women's 6k: 10 a.m. PDT
- Men's 8k: 11 a.m. PDT
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Fresh off a second-place finish at the Nuttycombe Invitational that included seven top-10 programs, the No. 2 Cougars enter Friday’s meet aiming to capture their eighth consecutive finish atop the WCC.
The Cougars won with 24 points in 2021, good for 26 points ahead of runner-up Gonzaga. Individual champion Conner Mantz crossed the line at 23:01.0, while Casey Clinger, Brandon Garnica and Lucas Bons secured All-WCC First team honors with third, fourth and fifth place finishes. Aside from Mantz, each return having been named to the preseason all-conference team in August.
Friday’s meet will mark WCC Men’s Runner of the Week (Oct. 18) honoree Joey Nokes’ second conference title appearance. The sophomore finished 24th at last year’s WCC Championships with a 24:22.1 time. Weber State graduate transfer Christian Allen will participate in his first WCC Championships after having placed third in the 2021 Big Sky Championships.
The well-balanced team is rounded out by sophomores Davin and Creed Thompson, Kenneth Rooks and junior Aidan Troutner.
BYU is joined by No. 14 Portland as the only WCC teams currently ranked in the USTFCCCA’s top-30 poll. Prior to Friday’s meet, the Cougars have raced against three conference foes this season: Gonzaga (Cowboy Jamboree, Nuttycombe Invitational), Portland (Nuttycombe) and Santa Clara (Nuttycombe).
In the eleven seasons since joining the WCC, BYU has secured the conference title in all but two. The team looks to continue its decades-long tradition of dominance with hopes of winning its 23rd conference title in the last 30 years, spanning from membership in the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference and now the program’s final year in the WCC.
After finishing fourth against a gauntlet of nationally ranked opponents at the Nuttycombe Invitational, the BYU women approach the WCC Championships seeking their fifth-consecutive conference crown.
In 2021, the Cougars won with 21 points behind the performances of individual champion Whittni Orton and third-place finisher Anna Camp-Bennett. Despite the loss of Orton and Camp-Bennett, BYU returns three All-WCC First Teamers this season with Aubrey Frentheway, Lexy Halladay-Lowry and McKenna Lee-Hansen. Each of the three returners were also recognized on the league’s 2022 preseason all-conference team.
Frentheway finished fourth at the conference title meet a season ago and is coming off a WCC Women’s Runner of the Week award on Oct. 18. Halladay-Lowry clocked a career-best 6k time of 20:17.0 at the 2021 WCC Championships and finished fifth. Lee-Hansen has competed in each of the last two WCC meets, finishing top-10 in both.
The Cougars enter the 2022 meet as the WCC’s only team ranked in the USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll. BYU faced Gonzaga and Portland at Nuttycombe on Oct. 14. The Cougars took fourth, while Portland finished 33rd and Gonzaga 36th.
Whether in the WCC, Mountain West Conference or Western Athletic Conference, BYU women’s cross country boasts a history of league dominance. Through 11 seasons in the WCC, the Cougars have won five conference championships and four-straight, while never having finished worse than third. BYU’s women harriers have won 22 all-time conference titles, including an impressive 17-straight from 1990 to 2006.
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