Pre-Nationals XC — The BYU Show

Conner Mantz’s individual win paced the BYU men to the top spot as the Cougar women were also showing off their strength. (MIKE SCOTT)

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana, October 19—BYU showed up full of run at Indiana State’s Pre-National Invitation on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course. Cougars Conner Mantz and Erika Birk ran to individual wins, while the No. 2-ranked men took the men’s title and the No. 2-ranked women came within 3 points of making it a 4-for-4 sweep.

The women’s race was up first. BYU’s runners established themselves in the front of the pack from the start, with a quartet—Birk, Anna Camp, Courtney Wayment, and Olivia Hoj—within a second of the lead at 2K. Auburn’s Joyce Kimeli and Washington’s Katie Rainsberger led the pack through the 4K checkpoint, with Birk, Wayment, and Hoj leading BYU to a narrow 2-point lead over the No. 8 Huskies at that juncture, 96–98. Rainsberger and Michigan’s Ericka VanderLende applied pressure over the next kilometer, dropping most of their competition other than Kimeli, Birk, Wayment, and Colorado’s Sage Hurta.

Birk made a strong move when she passed the line with 400m to go, pulling away strongly to win over Kimeli, 20:03–20:10. Hurta (also 20:10) finished strongly to claim 3rd. Wayment took 4th, but Rainsberger led Washington’s charge with a 6th-place effort. Teammate Shona McCulloch moved up 11 spots over the final 2K to seal the deal for the Huskies as they upset the Cougars 84–87.

“Their execution was what was best about it,” Washington coach Maurica Powell told gohuskies.com. “Katie did exactly what she intended to do and behind her we had Lilli, Shona, and Allie running the whole race together until the final stretch, and Camila did a really nice job sitting off of those guys and closing the last 2K.” The Husky win was even more impressive when one considers that they rested frosh Mel Smart, who had led the team at both the McNichols and Joe Piane Invitationals earlier in the season.

In the men’s race, Mantz led the huge pack through 3K but it was usually slow-starting No. 3-ranked Colorado that led the split score, 58–99, with the Buffs’ Joe Klecker, John Dressell, Eduardo Herrera, Kashon Harrison, and Alec Hornecker all running in the first 16. But the Cougars began to whittle down the lead and by 5K Colorado’s margin over BYU was down to 75–98 with a huge pack still in contention.

Mantz—who typically runs at the front of the pack pushing the pace—stayed with the leaders until he passed the famed “shoe tree” with 500m to go before making his move. The BYU soph edged away on the final stretch to win in 20:21, just a second ahead of Campbell’s Amon Kemboi. Behind Mantz, teammate Jacob Helsinton moved up 11 places to 4th while fifth-man Michael Ottesen moved up 29 places to claim 44th to give BYU a 2-point win over Colorado, 81–83.

“Best race of the year so far from the Cougs,” said BYU Coach Ed Eyestone. “It was fun to see Mantz take on some of the big guns. I thought our 1-4 showed we can be a podium team if we get healthy. Jake Heslington and Garnica stepped up big time and Michael Ottesen showed why depth is important, passing 29 runners the last 3K to snag us the win.”


PRE-NATIONALS RESULTS

Men’s Teams

1. BYU 81; 2. Colorado 83; 3. Iona 140; 4. Washington 160; 5. Mississippi 174; 6. Florida State 250; 7. Virginia Tech 252; 8. Villanova 297; 9. Weber State 307; 10. Iowa 322; 11. Oklahoma State 397; 12. Minnesota 435; 13. Arkansas 438; 14. Campbell 474.

Men’s Individuals (8K/4.97M)

1. **Conner Mantz (BYU) 23:20.8; 2. *Amon Kemboi (Camp) 23:22.5; 3. **Isai Rodriguez (OkSt) 23:23.8; 4. Jacob Heslington (BYU) 23:26.7; 5. **George Kusche (Nb) 23:31.6; 6. *Ehab El-Sandali (Iona) 23:33.0; 7. Andrew Jordan (Wa) 23:33.8; 8. John Dressel (Co) 23:34.4; 9. Joe Klecker (Co) 23:35.3; 10. *Johnjack Millar (Iona) 23:36.8; 11. ***Kashon Harrison (Co) 23:37.0; 12. *Waleed Suliman (Ms) 23:42.0; 13. ***Titus Cheruiyot (UTEP) 23:43.7; 14. **Brandon Garnica (BYU) 23:46.7; 15. Kasey Knevelbaard (FlSt) 23:47.3; 16. *Alec Basten (Mn) 23:49.5;

17. *Eduardo Herrera (Co) 23:51.3; 18. Daniel Carney (BYU) 23:51.8; 19. Peter Seufer (VaT) 23:52.8; 20. Nathan Mylenek (Ia) 23:53.6; 21. **Emmanuel Cheboson (Louisv) 23:56.0; 22. *Athanas Kioko (Camp) 23:56.6; 23. *Talon Hull (Wa) 23:57.6; 24. **Cade Bethmann (Ms) 23:58.1; 25. *Collin Buck (MtSt) 23:59.9;… 38. Alec Hornecker (Co) 24:20.6;… 44. Michael Ottesen (BYU) 24:23.1; 62. ***Austi Vancil (Co) 24:32.5;… 71. ***Gabe Fendel (Co) 24:35.8;… 82. *Kramer Morton (BYU) 24:41.4;… 96. **Zac Jacklin (BYU) 24:49.8.

Women’s Teams

1. Washington 84; 2. BYU 87; 3. Colorado 126; 4. Michigan 164; 5. Florida State 204; 6. Illinois 268; 7. Virginia Tech 292; 8. Butler 306; 9. Boston College 358; 10. Mississippi 376; 11. Oklahoma State 380; 12. Boise State 383; 13. Yale 412; 14. Duke 444; 15. Vanderbilt 494.

Women’s Individuals (6K/3.73M)

1. Erica Birk (BYU) 20:02.6; 2. *Joyce Kimeli (Aub) 20:09.4; 3. Sage Hurta (Co) 20:10.0; 4. Courtney Wayment (BYU) 20:10.8; 5. ***Ericka VanderLende (Mi) 20:13.4; 6. Katie Rainsberger (Wa) 20:14.5; 7. *Winny Koskei (Wich) 20:23.8; 8. **Molly Born (OkSt) 20:24.6; 9. *Taylor Somers (OkSt) 20:26.1; 10. Tabor Scholl (Co) 20:27.2; 11. **Elizabeth Funderburk (FlSt) 20:29.1; 12. **Shona McCulloch (Wa) 20:30.8; 13. *Kayley DeLay (Yale) 20:31.5; 14. Olivia Hoj (BYU) 20:32.8; 15. ***Adelyn Ackley (Lib) 20:33.3; 16. *Anna Kostarellis (Xavier (Oh) 20:33.7;

17. *Ashley Tutt (NnIl) 20:34.2; 18. *Emily Royston (But) 20:34.7; 19. *Paige Hofstad (NC) 20:35.0; 20. *Anna Camp (BYU) 20:36.0; 21. Lilli Burdon (Wa) 20:38.1; 22. *Allie Schadler (Wa) 20:38.4; 23. Sara Freix (VaT) 20:40.9; 24. ***Camila Noe (MtSt) 20:41.2; 25. Natalie Cizmas (EnMi) 20:41.5;… 28. **Camila David-Smith (Wa) 20:42.0;… 52. **Sadie Sargent (BYU) 20:56.8; 53. ***Anastaysia Davis (BYU) 20:58.1;… 63. *Sara Musselman (BYU) 21:03.7;… 80. Kaitlyn Neal (Wa) 21:14.5;… 104. *Hannah Waskom (Wa) 21:31.0. ◻︎

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