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Why BYU Is Resting Some Runners at the NCAA Regional Cross-Country Meet

Why BYU Is Resting Some Runners at the NCAA Regional Cross-Country Meet

The BYU Men’s Cross-Country Team 2 in the nation at Friday’s NCAA Mountain Regional Championships in Albuquerque. With No. 1 Stanford competing in another region, the Cougars will be favorites to win.

But not so fast.

“Don’t be surprised if we don’t win the region meet,” the coach said Ed Eyestone.

Eyestone plans to hold three of its top seven runners at the regional meet to rest for the NCAA championships, which will be held eight days later in Stillwater, Oklahoma. “We want fresh legs for that meeting,” he says.

He will run his top four runners, led by All-American Casey Klinger, but will sideline his 5-6-7 runners — sophomore twins Creed and Devin Thompson and freshman Aidan Troutner. Eyestone regional entries will be Klinger, Brandon Guernica, Christian Allen, Joey Noakes, Kenneth Rooks, Lucas Bones and Luke Grundvig.

“I’ve learned through experience that sometimes the top guys can run a little easier and get a workout out of it (from the race) and still be competitive, but some of the runners behind them have to run harder relatively speaking. You give rest to their citizens,” he explained. “Especially if they can be in the top 30 or 40 (at NCAAs), where five seconds can make a difference.”

In other words, a top runner like Klinger, who finished eighth at the 2021 NCAA Championships, doesn’t have to work as hard as other runners to maintain a competitive pace.

That strategy worked for Eyestone in 2019, when he outscored some of his top runners in the region and finished third, but loaded up at nationals and won the NCAA championship.

Klinger, who has competed in just two matches this fall, will compete Friday, but Eyestone said, “I would tell him not to go for the win; It’s like a primary or heat.”

Eyestone is confident his team can qualify for nationals without its best lineup, despite facing a field that includes three of the top five teams in national polls. The top two teams in each of the NCAA’s nine regional meets automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, plus 13 at-large teams for the 31-team field. In addition, 38 individual runners not on the team advanced to nationals.

The men’s 10,000 meters will start at 11 a.m. The women’s 6,000 meters will start an hour earlier.

The BYU women’s team entered the contest ranked No. 6 in the national polls. The Cougars’ biggest challenges will come from No. 2 New Mexico, No. 4 Northern Arizona, No. 8 Colorado and No. 9 Utah.

The BYU women won the West Coast Conference championship, placing seven runners in the top 13, led by Aubrey Frenthway and followed by Lexi Halladay-Lowry, McKenna Lee, Carmen Alder, Maddie Moffitt, Sadie Sargent and Riley. Chamberland.

BYU has been a cross-country powerhouse in recent years. The BYU women have finished second, first and second in the last three NCAA Championships, respectively, and the men won the 2019 championship. The Cougars have claimed three separate championships in the past two years, with Conner Mantz won the 2020 and 2021 titles and Whitney Orton 2021 title win.

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BYU’s men’s and women’s teams compete at the NCAA cross-country regional meet in Albuquerque on Friday, hoping to punch their ticket to the NCAA Championships next week in Stillwater, Oklahoma.




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