Cougars clinch fourth place in Seattle
SEATTLE – Top-10 finishes from Natalie Shields-Connolly and Carrie Jube led the Cougars to a fourth-place finish in the Washington Invitational Friday.
No. 5 Oregon won the meet with a score of 36, No. 15 Washington edged out No. 4 Stanford with 59 and 60 points, respectively, and No. 23 BYU came in fourth with 77 team points. 12 total teams competed, including WCC rivals Gonzaga and Portland, who placed sixth and eighth, respectively.
“It was a solid race for us,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “We had some great performances, two of the top-10, and the schools we were up against – Oregon, Stanford and Washington – are all really good teams.”
Of all the teams in Seattle this weekend, BYU had the tightest spread, with all five scoring runners finishing within 18 seconds of each other.
Yesenia Silva was third for the Cougars, despite starting the race dead last after going to the ground 400 meters in.
“She was knocked down on a hard right-hand turn,” Shane said. “And when she went down, she got knocked back down after being kicked, hit, stepped on and kneed four different times as she tried to get up. She just got beat up.”
Silva recovered after the post-gun stampede of runners passed and made her way to 17th to finish the contest. Jennica Redd and Alice Jensen were fourth and fifth for the Cougars, placing 21st and 22nd, respectively, just a tenth of a second apart.
This was the first time Shields-Connelly has led the Cougars since coming off her 2014 redshirt season, but not the first time of her career. She was BYU’s top runner both her freshman and sophomore years and is excited to be back in the game.
“It’s a great feeling to be back finally.” Shields-Connelly said. “It’s been a long year. When I was leading the team my freshman year I was running a lot slower. So, to be running that fast, but to also have the rest of our top eight or nine girls running under 21 minutes for a 6k is really exciting.”
BYU gears up next for the Wisconsin Invitational on October 16th, which will likely decide their berth in the NCAA National Championship meet in late November. While BYU’s top runners will train through this next weekend, several members of the team will participate in the USU Invitational on October 9th in Logan.
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