BYU men place third in NCAA Cross Country Championships

Led by Casey Clinger’s seventh place finish, BYU took third place at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma on Saturday.

The Cougars had moved into second place late in the race, just three points behind Northern Arizona, but they were slacking off in the final 1,000 meters of the 10,000 meter race.

“I feel really good with our performance. We positioned ourselves to fight for victory. That’s what you hope for.” — BYU Coach Ed Eyestone

Northern Arizona won the championship for the sixth time in seven years (BYU broke NAU’s streak by winning the title in 2019). NAU and visiting school Oklahoma State actually ended in an 83-83 tie, but NAU was awarded the title on a tiebreaker. BYU had 132 points.

For women, BYU was eighth and Utah 12th. North Carolina State won the teams championship for the second year in a row, led by sophomore superstar Katelyn Tuohy, who won the individual race.

This was the fourth time in six years that the BYU men had finished on the podium (top 4), including their 2019 NCAA championship. Only the second time in BYU’s history did four people earn cross-country All-American Awards (Top 40) – Clinger (seventh), Brandon Garnica (21st), Davin Thompson (30th) and Creed Thompson (35th). Clinger, an American Fork senior, earned his fourth cross-country All-American honors after finishing 24th, 13th, eighth, and now seventh in that race.

“I feel really good about our performance,” Eyestone said. “We put ourselves in a position to fight for victory. You hope so. We only lost a few places on the last stretch. If they had scored the top seven runners, we probably would have won. I am super happy with the assignment.”

The Cougars placed five runners in the top 47 — and all seven of their runners finished in the top 52 of the 254-man race. No other team came close, but only the top five runners count for the team score (no other team placed their seventh runner in the top 90). All seven BYU runners graduated from Utah High Schools.

The men’s race was won by Stanford’s Charles Hicks, who cleared NAU’s Nico Young and Drew Bosley in the final 1km of the race. In a chilly 31 degrees, he completed the hilly 10,000 meter course in 28:43.6. Hicks, Young and Bosley took a break early in the race and were never challenged. Clinger and Garnica ran the whole race in the chasing pack.

“Casey chose to surpass Oklahoma State’s Alex Maier because he ran well and knows the course,” Eyestone said. “After the race… maybe he should have gone with those (lead) guys.”

Tuohy, the most decorated cross-country runner of all time, actually trailed most of the women’s race. Florida’s Parker Valby managed to break away from the field early on as he tried to avoid Tuohy’s famous late-race kick. She had a 12-second lead over her pursuers at the 5k mark of the 6,000m race, but moments later Tuohy paused and began rolling Valby. She caught them on a hill at the 5.4km mark, pulled away and crossed the finish line in 19:27.7, some three seconds ahead of Valby.

Utah’s Emily Venters, a senior from Kansas, placed 12th and teammate Simon Plourde placed 45th to give the Utes their best team finish yet – 12th place. It was the fourth time in seven years that the Utes had finished in the top 20. Her previous best was a 16th place finish in 2019.

BYU’s eighth place finish for women marked the sixth straight year the Cougars have finished in the top 10. They had finished second, first and second respectively in the three previous races. Aubrey Frentheway was 32nd in the field of 254 women and teammate Lexy Halladay was 34th.

Everlyn Kemboi of Utah Valley, a senior from Kenya, finished 19th.

Utah State placed 26th in the men’s team competition.

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Members of the BYU women’s cross-country team race at the West Coast Conference Championships in Portland, Oregon, October 28, 2022. The BYU women placed eighth at the on Saturday, November 19, 2022 in Stillwater, Oklahoma The NCAA Championships University of Utah women finished 12th, the highest-ever finish for the Utes.

Matthew Norton, BYU photo



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