BYU’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams — both ranked No. 3 in the latest national polls — will compete in the NCAA Mountain Regional Cross-Country Championships Friday in Lubbock, Texas.
Like many of the top programs, the Cougars are likely to hold out two or three of their top runners to rest them for the NCAA championships, which will be held just eight days later. The top two teams in each regional competition automatically advance to the NCAA championships, but 13 at-large schools will be chosen by the NCAA to advance based on their performance during the season.
The BYU men’s team finished second in the pre-national meet in Wisconsin earlier this season, and the BYU women’s team has won all four of its competitions this season, including the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Oregon. Those performances will go a long way in moving the Cougars to nationals.
“We could finish as low as fifth or even sixth, and I think we’d advance,” says coach Ed Eyestone, who plans to rest three of his top runners.
The men’s team has finished in the top three in four of the last six NCAA championships, including a first-place finish in 2019. The women’s team won the 2021 NCAA team championship and finished second in 2020. The two programs have also produced three individual champions in the last three years — Conner Mantz (twice) and Whittni Orton.
The BYU men finished second behind Oklahoma State in the Big 12 championships. The BYU women claimed the school’s first Big 12 championship.
BYU’s top finishers in the Big 12 meet were Creed Thompson (third), Joey Nokes (sixth) and James Corrigan (13th).
The women’s team placed seven in the top 14 of that competition — Lexy Halladay-Lowry (fourth), Jenna Hutchins (sixth), Carmen Alder (seventh), Aubrey Frentheway (eighth), Riley Chamberlain (10th), Sadie Sargent (13th) and North Carolina transfer Carlee Hansen (14th).
BYU is one of four Utah women’s teams that are competing, joining Utah No. 20, Utah Valley No. 22 and Utah State. UVU placed five runners in the top five en route to the Western Athletic Conference championship — Ari Trimble (second), Morgan Nokes (fifth), Anna Martin (sixth), Lydia Beus (seventh) and Abbie Fuhriman (10th). Utah, which finished fifth in the Pac 12 championships, is led by McKaylie Caesar, Katarzyna Nowakowska, Annastasia Peters and Morgan Jensen.
The Mountain Regional will include six ranked women’s teams and five ranked men’s teams. There are nine regions.
Correction: The original version of this story noted that BYU was one of three women’s teams competing in the NCAA regional, joining Utah and UVU. There are four women’s teams from Utah participating: BYU, Utah, UVU and Utah State.