NCAA Men’s XC Championships — BYU Gets Its First

Cougar head Ed Eyestone (with cap) became the first individual winner ever to coach a men’s team to the national title. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA, November 23—The most predictable thing about the NCAA Cross Country Championships is that it is more often than not unpredictable. But in edition No. 81 of the men’s race, BYU—which many prognosticators counted out in light of Northern Arizona’s 3-year dominance and status this time as the “prohibitive favorite”—refused to follow any script other than its own and romped to a surprisingly easy win in the mud, cold and sleet over the iconic 10K route at Indiana State, host for the 13th time.

Ed Eyestone’s Cougars made more than a bit of history in scoring 109 points off adjusted finishes of 3-14-17-36-39 for a healthy 54-point edge on the erstwhile champs, who had 163, and a 55-point gap on 3rd-place Colorado (164). It made for three Mountain region powers dominating the podium with Iowa State joining them in 4th.

Although BYU’s win may fairly be called an upset, it really wasn’t as huge as it might seem despite the one-sided nature in NAU’s favor over the past few years. The rivalry between the two is a strong one respected by both coaches, and is even punctuated with some good-natured Twitter trash-talking by current and former runners. And NAU coach Mike Smith has always cautioned his team that it’s championship day that counts and not what was done in the past.

The win was long-time contender BYU’s first team title in the sport and also made the veteran Eyestone a national champ once again, 35 years after he won the ’84 title as a BYU senior. He’s the first man to win NCAA cross titles as an athlete and coach.

Of course, this race is not always unpredictable, although Virginia Tech senior Pete Seufer, who was 16th a year ago, loped to a healthy lead, as many as 9 seconds, heading toward the 5M post. So for some time it looked as if an individual upset loomed as the 2-time ACC champ tried to steal one from his more highly touted rivals on the sloppy course. “I just wanted to put myself out there and see what I could accomplish,” he said. “I might’ve come up short of winning, but I left it all out there and that’s all I could have asked for.”

But veteran Edwin Kurgat of Iowa State, the top returnee from ’18, stuck to his race plan, refused to panic and gradually killed Seufer’s dream, reeling him in with about 2K left. The Kenyan didn’t have to look back, despite crazy fast closes from runner-up Joe Klecker of Colorado and Conner Mantz of BYU. Seufer gamely hung on for 4th while Alabama’s Vincent Kiprop closed out the top 5; all are seniors except for sophomore Mantz.

Kurgat’s winning 30:32.7 was 5 seconds up on Klecker and 8 better than Mantz as he became the first Iowa State champ since Jonah Koech in ’90. “I was not worried,” Kurgat said of Seufer’s big lead. “I knew I still had a lot of energy and I was just like, ‘Let them run, I still got 2K.’ It didn’t change anything. I knew I could run any field equally and I could overcome the disadvantage”

Klecker regretted how he ran down the finishing straight. “9400 solid meters but lack of aggression the last 600 cost me,” he tweeted post-race. “I imagine that last 600 will replay in my mind for a while.”

Meanwhile, BYU schooled all its rivals as it bunched its other scorers in pairs behind Mantz, with seniors Daniel Carney and Jacob Heslington in 17th and 21st and sophs Brandon Garnica and Matt Owens in 42nd and 45th. All were within a nifty 53 seconds.

Eyestone credited Mantz’s frontrunning style as important to his team’s confidence early in the race, noting that “it’s inspiring to the other guys.” Indeed, BYU showed its racing chops early and had a considerable lead in the team battle when the first early scores posted; that margin ranged from 36 to 57 throughout the race, making it clear that it was BYU’s meet to lose.

“I’m proud of the way the guys fought through the elements,” Eyestone said. “I think our guys proved that they are mudders. These guys are tough; they overcome adversity and compete through anything.” Eyestone figured his team was ready after the Mountain Regional. “That’s a semifinal,” he said. “This is the final.”


NCAA MEN’S XC RESULTS

Terre Haute, Indiana, November 23—

Teams

(adjusted places)

1. BYU 3–14–17–36–39 (73–126) 109
2. Northern Arizona 18–28–31–40–46 (55–125) 163
3. Colorado 2–7–32–48–75 (113–124) 164
4. Iowa State 1–37–45–62–66 (79–143) 211
5. Tulsa 10–12–67–70–84 (164–204) 243

6. Stanford 248; 7. Michigan 250; 8. Notre Dame 269; 9. Oregon 307; 10. Portland 314; 11. Purdue 338; 12. Iona 348; 13. Indiana 367; 14. Furman 379; 15. Harvard 384; 16. Utah State 428; 17. Virginia Tech 451; 18. Wisconsin 462; 19. Washington 466; 20. Virginia 468; 21. Boise State 525; 22. Mississippi 535; 23. Villanova 556; 24. Alabama 582; 25. Texas 588; 26. NC State 605; 27. Syracuse 610; 28. Georgetown 676; 29. Florida State 694; 30. Arkansas 728; 31. Middle Tennessee 865.

Individuals

(10K; 252 started, 249 finished)

(† = not part of team scoring; ‘ after name = foreigner)

(Classes: *** = frosh; ** = soph; * = junior; all others are seniors)

1. Edwin Kurgat’ (Iowa State) 30:32.7
2. Joe Klecker (Colorado) 30:37.1
3. **Conner Mantz (BYU) 30:40.0
4. Peter Seufer (Virginia Tech) 30:40.1
5. Vincent Kiprop’ (Alabama) 30:43.5
6. *Cooper Teare (Oregon) 30:49.2
7. John Dressel (Colorado) 30:52.2
8. †*Amon Kemboi’ (Campbell) 30:55.9
9. Gilbert Kigen’ (Alabama) 30:57.2
10. Jaret Carpenter (Purdue) 30:58.7
11. *Patrick Dever (Tulsa) 30:59.4
12. Kyle Mau (Indiana) 31:00.0
13. *Peter Lynch (Tulsa) 31:04.3
14. †**Christian Allen (Weber State) 31:04.9
15. †Euan Makepeace’ (Butler) 31:04.9
16. *Devin Meyrer (Michigan) 31:05.2
17. Daniel Carney (BYU) 31:05.7
18. Oliver Hoare’ (Wisconsin) 31:08.2
19. †*Athanas Kioko (Campbell) 31:09.2
20. *Waleed Suliman (Mississippi) 31:09.6
21. Jacob Heslington (BYU) 31:10.5
22. ***Drew Bosley (Northern Arizona) 31:10.8
23. †*Morgan Beadlescomb (Michigan State) 31:10.9
24. *Curtis Eckstein (Purdue) 31:11.2
25. Alex Ostberg (Stanford) 31:11.6
26. *Johnjack Millar (Iona) 31:12.2
27. *Sam Worley (Texas) 31:12.4
28. Kieran Tuntivate’ (Harvard) 31:12.7
29. ***Dylan Jacobs (Notre Dame) 31:12.9
30. Miler Haller (Boise State) 31:12.9
31. Caleb Webb (Portland) 31:13.5
32. Ryan Adams (Furman) 31:13.9
33. ***Abdihamid Nur (Northern Arizona) 31:14.0
34. *Alek Parsons (Stanford) 31:14.4
35. Steven Fahy (Stanford) 31:15.0
36. †Justin Domangue (UT Arlington) 31:17.9
37. Geordie Beamish’ (Northern Arizona) 31:18.3
38. *Alec Hornecker (Colorado) 31:18.5
39. *Ian Shanklin (NC State) 31:19.3
40. *Jack Aho (Michigan) 31:20.8
41. *Ehab El-Sandali’ (Iona) 31:21.2
42. **Brandon Garnica (BYU) 31:21.3
43. **Chad Johnson (Iowa State) 31:21.6
44. *Isaac Harding (Michigan) 31:23.9
45. **Matt Owens (BYU) 31:25.4
46. *Yared Nuguse (Notre Dame) 31:28.7
46. ***Brodey Hasty (Northern Arizona) 31:28.7
48. ***Colin Baker (Harvard) 31:29.5
49. Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse’ (Portland) 31:29.9
50. **Danny Kilrea (Notre Dame) 31:30.8
51. *Mitchell Day (Iowa State) 31:31.2
52. *Luis Grijalva’ (Northern Arizona) 31:31.5
53. †*Nadeel Wildschutt’ (Coastal Carolina) 31:31.6
54. *Daniel Bernal (Furman) 31:32.2
55. *Eduardo Herrera (Colorado) 31:32.4
56. Luke Beattie (Utah State) 31:33.3
57. Alex Corbett (Virginia) 31:34.0
58. *Fitsum Seyoum (Virginia Tech) 31:34.4
59. †**Taylor Dillon (Weber State) 31:34.6
60. *Gavin Gaynor (NC State) 31:34.7
61. *Ben Veatch (Indiana) 31:35.9
62. *Nicholas Wareham (Georgetown) 31:36.1
63. *Blaise Ferro (Northern Arizona) 31:36.1
64. ***Peter Morris (Virginia) 31:36.4
65. *Ahmed Muhumed (Boise State) 31:36.4
66. *Jack O’Leary (Iona) 31:37.4
67. *Andrew Alexander’ (Notre Dame) 31:38.6
68. †*Christopher Alfond (UMass Lowell) 31:39.4
69. ***Cole Hocker (Oregon) 31:40.0
70. †Conor Lundy (Princeton) 31:41.0
71. **Paul Stafford (Florida State) 31:41.1
72. *Milo Greder (Iowa State) 31:41.4
73. *Jackson Mestler (Oregon) 31:41.7
74. James West’ (Oregon) 31:43.4
75. *Matthew Pereira (Harvard) 31:44.4
76. Addison Dehaven (Iowa State) 31:45.4
77. Cameron Field (Tulsa) 31:45.6
78. Michael Teran-Solano (Portland) 31:46.0
79. Andrew Marston (Villanova) 31:46.0
80. †Stephen Jones (Mississippi State) 31:46.6
81. *Scott Beattie’ (Tulsa) 31:47.5
82. **Nathan Henderson (Syracuse) 31:49.4
83. John Rice (Texas) 31:50.0
84. †Garrett Reynolds (UCLA) 31:50.6
85. †Nathan Mylenek (Iowa) 31:51.8
86. †*Jordan Rowe’ (Lamar) 31:52.3
87. Michael Ottesen (BYU) 31:53.2
88. Jack Rowe (Washington) 31:54.2
89. †*Anthony Russo (Penn) 31:54.9
90. ***Kashon Harrison (Colorado) 31:55.9
91. **Arjun Jha (Indiana) 31:56.2
92. †Kaleb McLeod (Belmont) 31:56.3
93. Olin Hacker (Wisconsin) 31:56.4
94. **Tyler Bowling (Purdue) 31:56.5
95. *Thomas Pollard (Iowa State) 31:56.5
96. Jordy Hewitt (Michigan) 31:57.9
97. ***Matthew Scrape (Syracuse) 31:58.6
98. **Evert Silva (Portland) 31:58.7
99. ***Clayton Mendez (Stanford) 31:58.9
100. **Isaac Akers (Tulsa) 31:59.3
101. *Joost Plaetinck (Michigan) 31:59.4
102. **Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau (Stanford) 31:59.6
103. †Marc Migliozzi (Akron) 31:59.7
104. **Alex Slenning (Washington) 32:00.0
105. Diego Zarate (Virginia Tech) 32:00.7
106. *Tibebu Proctor (Washington) 32:00.8
107. JD Thorne (Utah State) 32:01.7
108. Will Battershill’ (Harvard) 32:01.8
109. †*Ben Varghese (East Tennessee) 32:02.4
110. *Randy Neish (Virginia) 32:02.8
111. **Mario Garcia Romo’ (Mississippi) 32:04.2
112. †*Simon Bedard (Butler) 32:04.8
113. James Withers (Utah State) 32:05.5
114. *Riley Osen (Portland) 32:05.6
115. Adam Hendrickson (Utah State) 32:05.8
116. ***David Ahlmeyer (Furman) 32:05.8
117. **Isaac Green (Washington) 32:06.1
118. **Caleb Garnica (Utah State) 32:06.3
119. **Cameron Ponder (Furman) 32:06.4
120. †Thomas George’ (Missouri) 32:07.3
121. †Colin Burke (UCLA) 32:07.7
122. ***Matthew Carmody (Notre Dame) 32:07.7
123. *Jacob Lee (Michigan) 32:07.9
124. **Charlie O’Donovan (Villanova) 32:08.7
125. **Bailey McIntire (Purdue) 32:09.5
126. †Jake Brophy (Navy) 32:09.9
127. †Alex Masai’ (Hofstra) 32:10.6
128. ***Matthew Schadler (Indiana) 32:11.2
129. *Kevin Salvano (Notre Dame) 32:11.9
130. **Brendan Fraser (Notre Dame) 32:12.7
131. Jake Ogden (Furman) 32:12.8
132. ***Myles Richter (Arkansas) 32:14.0
133. *Reuben Kiprono’ (Portland) 32:14.0
134. †**Abraham Chirchir’ (Texas Rio Grande Valley) 32:14.8
135. **Shuaib Aljabaly (Wisconsin) 32:15.1
136. †Christopher Henry (Wyoming) 32:15.6
137. Jacob Choge’ (Middle Tennessee) 32:16.0
138. †**James Mwaura’ (Gonzaga) 32:16.2
139. ***Gabe Fendel (Colorado) 32:16.3
140. *Carter Christman (Oregon) 32:16.4
141. **Jamie Dee’ (Iona) 32:16.6
142. ***Haftu Strintzos (Villanova) 32:17.2
143. *Charlie Hunter’ (Oregon) 32:17.8
144. Julius Diehr (Washington) 32:18.3
145. *Jac Hopkins (Iona) 32:18.7
146. *Parker Scott (Mississippi) 32:19.0
147. *Matt Young (Arkansas) 32:19.1
148. Bryce Millar (Indiana) 32:19.1
149. Ben Eidenschink (Wisconsin) 32:19.2
150. ***Austin Vancil (Colorado) 32:19.6
151. ***Theo Quax’ (Northern Arizona) 32:20.3
152. †***Titus Cheruiyot (UTEP) 32:21.3
153. †Florian Lussy’ (North Texas State) 32:21.8
154. *Connor Weaver (BYU) 32:22.6
155. **Jordan Brannan (Iona) 32:23.5
156. *Brody Smith (Purdue) 32:23.7
157. ***Price Owens (Georgetown) 32:24.7
158. ***Ares Reading (Furman) 32:26.2
159. *AJ Ernst (Virginia) 32:28.0
160. **Roberto Porras (Utah State) 32:28.1
161. †**Brent Leber (Lipscomb) 32:28.2
162. Casey Comber (Villanova) 32:28.9
163. **Dustin Horter (Indiana) 32:29.0
164. **Josh Phillips’ (Villanova) 32:29.2
165. †**George Kusche’ (Nebraska) 32:31.1
166. †*Alec Basten (Minnesota) 32:31.7
167. *Seth Hirsch (Wisconsin) 32:31.8
168. *Elijah Armstrong (Boise State) 32:33.2
169. **Henry Mong (Boise State) 32:33.5
170. *Lachlan Cook’ (Virginia) 32:34.3
171. Kigen Chemadi’ (Middle Tennessee) 32:35.3
172. Tanis Baldwin (NC State) 32:37.3
173. Kasey Knevelbaard (Florida State) 32:37.5
174. David Too’ (Iowa State) 32:39.4
175. *Jack Yearian (Oregon) 32:40.0
176. Jack Van Scoter (Georgetown) 32:40.5
177. **Cade Bethmann (Mississippi) 32:41.6
178. ***Noah Beveridge (Syracuse) 32:42.3
179. Steven Cross (Florida State) 32:43.7
180. ***Haftu Knight (Texas) 32:44.4
181. *Dominic Hockenbury (Syracuse) 32:44.4
182. ***Antonio Lopez Segura (Virginia Tech) 32:44.8
183. *Thomas Ratcliffe (Stanford) 32:45.0
184. Ben Hill (Michigan) 32:47.2
185. **Ed Goddard (Iona) 32:47.7
186. Joe Horen (Portland) 32:48.1
187. ***Crayton Carrozza (Texas) 32:49.3
188. ***Matthias Cannon (Virginia Tech) 32:50.1
189. **Ryan Murphy (Arkansas) 32:50.2
190. †*Nick Randazzo (UCSB) 32:52.2
191. Nathan Rodriguez (Villanova) 32:53.2
192. *Michael Coccia (Mississippi) 32:53.7
193. Kevin James (Syracuse) 32:54.6
194. Preston Cates (Arkansas) 32:54.7
195. †**Eric Casarez (Texas A&M) 32:55.7
196. *Hugo Milner (Harvard) 32:57.4
197. *Reed Sahadevan (Tulsa) 32:59.1
198. †**Adriaan Wildschutt’ (Coastal Carolina) 33:00.5
199. **Kyle Griffith (Purdue) 33:00.9
200. Ari Klau (Virginia) 33:01.5
201. Dallin Farnsworth (Utah State) 33:02.5
202. *Jonathan Shields (Boise State) 33:03.0
203. ***Jackson Sharp (Wisconsin) 33:03.0
204. *Silas Griffith (Florida State) 33:03.8
205. Spencer Brown (Georgetown) 33:08.7
206. ***Patrick Spychalski (Villanova) 33:12.5
207. **Caleb Pottorff (Florida State) 33:14.3
208. *Tim Bason (NC State) 33:20.0
209. **Bashir Mosavel-Lo (Virginia Tech) 33:21.0
210. *Trent Mandato (Furman) 33:25.4
211. ***Shea Weilbaker (Georgetown) 33:27.2
212. Carter Persyn (Arkansas) 33:28.6
213. *Joe Dragon (Syracuse) 33:29.6
214. James Brinyark (Alabama) 33:29.7
215. **Rusty Kujdych (Georgetown) 33:31.7
216. ***Jacob Holmes (Florida State) 33:33.7
217. †***Ezekiel Kibichii (Eastern Kentucky) 33:34.6
218. ***Nathan Dunn (Boise State) 33:34.6
219. **Reese Jordan (Indiana) 33:34.7
220. *Michael Alber (Harvard) 33:35.8
221. Matthew Bouthillette (Georgetown) 33:38.6
222. **David Melville (Harvard) 33:40.2
223. Elliott Miller (Alabama) 33:40.6
224. †*Benjamin Drezek (UMass Lowell) 33:43.6
225. ***Cruz Gomez (Texas) 33:43.9
226. ***Alec Fleming (Purdue) 33:44.1
227. Daniel Golden (Texas) 33:45.4
228. Matthew Novak (Virginia) 33:47.8
229. Zack Snider (Wisconsin) 33:49.1
230. ***Nathan Lawler (Syracuse) 33:55.7
231. **D.J. Principe (Stanford) 33:57.7
232. ***Hillary Kimaiyo (Middle Tennessee) 34:04.0
233. ***Sam Tanner (Washington) 34:11.6
234. **Matthew Newland (Florida State) 34:13.0
235. ***Cole Bullock (Mississippi) 34:15.1
236. Jack Joyce (Virginia Tech) 34:15.8
237. **Elliot Gindi (Alabama) 34:18.5
238. Graham Brown (Arkansas) 34:23.2
239. *Jake Johnson (Texas) 34:32.0
240. Adam Breaux (Tulsa) 34:34.2
241. †Ryan Kutch (Fordham) 34:48.2
242. ***Yared Mekonnen (NC State) 34:51.2
243. ***Jayce Turner (Arkansas) 34:57.1
244. ***Jacob Wiggers (Alabama) 35:15.2
245. *Lebo Mosito (Middle Tennessee) 35:37.0
246. ***Titus Lagat (Middle Tennessee) 35:50.4
247. **Brian Rono’ (Middle Tennessee) 35:57.4
248. ***Ares Epps (NC State) 36:06.5
249. Nathan Mack (Middle Tennessee) 36:52.4

… dnf—Logan Rees (Boise State), ***Noel Rotich (Alabama), *Edwin Rutto (NC State).