BYU Upsets NAU To Win First NCAA XC Title

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

(c) 2019 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

TERRE HAUTE (23-Nov) -- After finishing second four times, the women of the University of Arkansas under coach Lance Harter finally won their first-ever NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships team title here today, beating back a strong challenge from Brigham Young University, and prevailing by just six points, 96 to 102. Moreover, the Razorbacks became only the second women's team in history to win all three NCAA team titles in a calendar year (indoor track, outdoor track and cross country) joining the University of Texas which accomplished the same feat in 1986.

"Oh my God!  It's unbelievable," an elated Harter told Race Results Weekly, seemingly unaware of the near-freezing temperatures and steady rain. He continued: "They just didn't lose their poise.  They stayed with it all the way up the home stretch. They took care of business."

The Razorbacks were the number one-ranked team coming into these championships, so their victory was not a surprise. They won both their conference and regional championships, and in the latter meet scored a perfect 15 points sweeping the top-5 places. Nonetheless, they faced a spirited challenge from BYU whose athletes worked together as a team and put three women --Courtney Wayment, Erica Birk and Whittni Orton-- across the line in fifth, sixth and seventh position in a span of just nine tenths of a second. BYU helped set a strong early pace and Harter's team was quickly put on the defensive.

"The kids dug down deep today, because BYU set the precedent early," Harter observed. "So, they knew they were behind."

Through the 2-kilometer mark, fully 50 women were in the lead pack led by New Mexico junior Weini Kelati. Arkansas's Katie Izzo, Taylor Werner, Devin Clark, and Carina Viljoen, were in that pack, but Lauren Gregory and Maddy Reed were several seconds back, and BYU was leading by 24 points at that split. The fifth and last scorer can make a huge difference in the outcome of the team competition, so Gregory and Reed needed to stay in the hunt.

"It was a matter of OK, how much will do you have to try to walk this thing down?" Harter said.

Kelati pulled away from the field and was running alone with a five-second lead by the 4-kilometer mark (13:14.9), trailed by Wisconsin's Alicia Monson, Orton, and Izzo who were working together. Werner was just two seconds behind, and Arkansas was leading the team competition by nine points. Kelati was able to widen that lead to 10 seconds by the finish --clinching the individual title in 19:47.5 to Monson's 19:57.1-- but Izzo and Werner, knowing the team title was on the line, pushed hard to stay as close as possible and finished third and fourth in 19:59.3 and 20:11.1, respectively.

"Everybody counts, every jersey counts," said Izzo, who transferred from Cal Poly where she competed last year. "Yes, I was really fighting. It was also very cold and I didn't want to pass out or anything."

When Wayment, Birk and Orton swept over the line just behind Werner, Arkansas fans held their breath as they waited for their next three finishers. Clark finished 21st, Viljoen 28th, and Gregory 72nd. It was enough because BYU's next two women, Olivia Hoj and Anna Camp, finished 56th and 60th, respectively (41st and 43rd in the team scoring). That was the difference.

"I don't have any words," said the mud-spattered Werner, who openly wept. "I worked so hard every day. Just knowing that we persevered, and went through all these struggles, it's just a dream come true. I love those guys so much. I'm so happy."

BYU would get to taste victory on the men's side, however. Under longtime coach Ed Eyestone, they had never won a team title at these championships and were considered underdogs to Northern Arizona University who were undefeated this season.

The race started oddly when the six-foot, three-inch Peter Seufer of Virginia Tech decided to break open the race, early. Seufer --who ran without a hat or long sleeves despite the cold and heavy rain-- had a nine-second lead by the halfway mark of the 10-kilometer race. He said that he felt strong and was running on feel.

"I mean, nobody expected me to do anything," Seufer told reporters after the race. He continued: "I knew going in there was nothing to lose. Why not put myself in the position to do something special today?"

Behind Seufer the team battle was playing out between BYU and NAU, but it became obvious that that the Lumberjacks were having an off day. At the halfway mark they trailed the BYU Cougars by 46 points and by the 8-kilometer mark that margin hadn't budged. If BYU could just hold on the team title would be theirs.

"We knew we had a chance," said Eyestone. "NAU's always tough. They had an off day, but our guys just came through."

Iowa State's Edwin Kurgat, third at these championships last year, was just steps behind Seufer at 8-K. After catching him, he sat on his heels for a few moments,then quickly pulled away to get the individual title unpressed in 30:32.7. Colorado's Joe Klecker also dropped Seufer and finished a clear second (30:37.1) while BYU's Connor Mantz --only a sophomore-- kicked past Seufer right before the line to get third, 30:40.0 to 30:41.1.

"I knew I could do something special today," said Kurgat who revealed that Seufer's breakaway didn't knock him off his game. "No, I was not worried. I knew I still had a lot of energy.  I was like, let him work until 2-K (to go) then start going. It didn't change anything."

While BYU's first man finished third, NAU's first man --freshman Drew Bosley-- only finished 22nd.  The 46-point lead BYU had at 8-K swelled to 54 points at the finish, 109 to 163. Colorado finished just one point behind with 164.

"This has been a long time coming," said Eyestone, who became the first man ever to win an individual NCAA cross country title (1984) and also coach a winning team. He continued: "You can't even put it into words how proud I am. They really rose up."

Brown Cuts Men's Track & Field/XC

Brown University is cutting men’s track and field and cross country along with nine other varsity sports at the school, the school announced on Thursday as part of their roll out of The Excellence in Brown Athletics Initiative.

2020 Boston Marathon Canceled

For the first time in its 124 year history, the Boston Marathon has been canceled as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

David Rudisha Undergoes Surgery After Breaking Ankle

(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Appalachian State Cuts Men's Indoor Track And Field

Appalachian State is dropping men’s indoor track and field, the latest program to make cuts to collegiate running programs since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Leo Daschbach Becomes 11th U.S. Prep To Break 4:00 With 3:59.54

null

On Saturday night in El Dorado Hills, California, high school senior Leo Daschbach (AZ) became the 11th U.S. prep runner to break 4:00 in the mile with his 3:59.54 clocking.

Is NCAA Track/XC Dying?

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The recent announcements of program cuts to men's cross country at Akron and men's track at Central Michigan have resurfaced a feeling of uncertainty for the future of NCAA cross country and track. Here is a breakdown of where our sport currently stands within the NCAA system.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Understanding Resting And Maximum Heart Rate

Throughout the past years, business has combined the health and technology industries to create a society where fitness tracking has become a regular pastime. People have become more invested in their health and want fun devices to assist in that. These smartwatches and apps have made it easier than ever to know what your exact heart rate is, how many hours of sleep you get, or how far you run. However, with all the knowledge presented to you, it’s equally important to actually understand what those numbers mean to best achieve all of your fitness goals. A big part of this is knowing the different active and resting heart rate zones. 

Pre-Run And Post-Run Stretches

Stretching before and after your run can add a lot of benefits to your exercise routine. It allows you to warm up your muscles and safely progress into your run and also provides your body time to cool off and continue to activate your muscles. It’s important to set aside a couple of minutes before and after exercising so you can make sure you’re taking proper care of your body. 

The History Of Track And Field

Track and field has been around since the start of the Olympics in Ancient Greece in 776 B.C. It was created alongside religious events and celebrations for the Greek gods where men (no women were allowed) could show off their athletic abilities. From there it spread to the Romans who continued the games until the Christian Emperor Theodosius I banned them in 394 A.D. because of their ties to pagan beliefs. 

Don't Miss The Quarantine Clasico Sub-4 Live On MileSplit

null

History could be headed our way on Saturday in California.