BYU's cross country teams swept nearly every team and individual honor available at the Mountain West Conference Championships on Saturday, as the Cougar women won their 18th consecutive conference title and the Cougar men won their ninth title in the last 10 years.
The Utah women's team fell short of its goal of a top five finish, finishing sixth, but improved over last year's seventh-place finish.
BYU men's coach Ed Eyestone and women's coach Patrick Shane both took home MWC Coach of the Year honors.
Kassi Andersen was named the MWC's Female Athlete of the Year after winning the women's 6K race with a time of 20:52.7. She was more than 18 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Calandra Stewart of TCU.
A big help was "running as a team for the first half and then running how we felt as individuals in the second half," Andersen said. "As a team, we did what we came to do and what we expected to do."
Amber Duffin (fifth) and Amy Fowler (seventh) joined Andersen on the All-MWC first team, while Breanne Sandberg (ninth) and Anne Heiner (13th) made the second team in rounding out the scoring for the Cougars.
On the men's side, BYU's Josh Rohatinsky had to shake off a little rust in his first race in a month but still had more than enough kick to distance himself from the pack about halfway through the race. He won the men's 8K by nearly 10 seconds, ahead of Wyoming's Mark Korir.
Rohatinsky, who was named MWC Male Athlete of the Year, collapsed after crossing the finish line. But after taking a few minutes to catch his breath and walk around, he insisted he was fine.
"Every time I passed coach Eyestone or someone else, I'd motion to see how far behind me (Korir) was," Rohatinsky said. "I just wanted to hang on. I don't like to race like that, but I haven't run in about a month and I think that had something to do with it."
Kyle Perry (third), Chandler Goodwin (sixth) and Dustin Bybee (seventh) joined Rohatinsky and Perry on the All-MWC first team, while Jacob Gustafsson (10th) and MWC Freshman of the Year Alden Bahr (11th) made the second team.
While the Ute women finished slightly lower than hoped, coach Kyle Kepler said he couldn't have been more pleased with the team's effort.
"I'm ecstatic with our performance," he said. "Overall, it's a great day for our program. Our program got better today, and that's what we're trying to do in every meet."
Freshman phenom Becky Mackelprang, who had led the Utes in every race this season, was hampered by soreness in her foot. Despite the injury, she still managed to finish second on her team and 28th overall.
"It was one of the gutsiest performances I've seen as a coach," Kepler said of Mackelprang.
Without Mackelprang in the top spot, fellow freshman Alyssa Abbott stepped up for Utah, shaving 1:30 off her best time of the season and finishing 23rd overall.
WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: The Utah State men's and women's cross country teams won league championships at Fresno, Calif., Saturday.
The Aggie men posted a fairly easy victory as they placed five runners in the top eight individually en route to 26 points.
USU's Vance Twitchell was the meet runner-up, individually placing 28 seconds behind Boise State's Forest Braden. Twitchell, a senior from Helena, Mont., covered the eight-kilometer course in 24:43 to pace the Aggies.
Ben Kessen was fourth with a time of 25:08, while Seth Wold was fifth (25:13), Tony Jones seventh (25:32) and Aaron Clements eighth (25:45) for USU.
On the women's side, USU placed three in the top seven individually, including Jennifer Twitchell, who was fourth at 17:58.8 on the five-kilometer course.
Other top USU women finishes included Stacie Lifferth placing fifth at 18:00 and seventh-place finisher Amy Egan (18:07).
BIG SKY CHAMPIONSHIP: The Weber State men's and women's cross country teams put an end to the Northern Arizona run of titles as each Weber State team won Saturday at the 2006 Big Sky Championships in Sacramento, Calif.
It was the first men's championship since 1997 and the first women's title since 2000 for the Wildcats. It was also just the second time ever both teams have won the championship in the same year.
The Wildcats totaled 32 points to win by 18 over the Lumberjacks as four Wildcats earned All-Big Sky honors.
NAU sophomore Lopez Lomong won individual honors with a time of 23:27.1, but Weber State finished with five of the next 10 runners. Seven of the eight WSU runners posted their best performances of the season.
Junior Seth Pilkington led WSU for the fourth time this season and took second place with a time of 23:39.3 on the 8K course. Junior Bret Ferrier was fourth overall at 24:09.2. Sophomore Bryant Jensen was the third runner for the 'Cats as he finished sixth with a time of 24:43.9.
Sophomore David Olson also earned All-Conference honors as he took ninth with a time of 24:47.2.
The WSU women prevailed without the services of their top runner this season. Senior Lindsey Anderson was sick with a bad cold and finished 24th in the race, but Weber State still managed a win with 39 points. Montana was second, and NAU was in third.
INDEPENDENT CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Utah Valley State men's and women's cross country team concluded their season on Saturday at the Independent Championships. The women finished fourth and the men finished fifth in the nine-team race held at IPFW.
In the women's 6K race the top four teams were separated by only 11 points. South Dakota State was first with 55 points while IPFW was second with 58 points. UC Davis had 64 points while the Wolverines had 66.Comment on this story
Freshman Mary Nothum was the top Wolverine finisher at fifth place, running a 22:34.2. Senior Bekah Poppinga was seventh at 22:39.4. Both runners earned All-Independent honors for finishing in the top 10.
The race was run on an extremely muddy field after two days of heavy rainfall.
MID-CONTINENT CONFERENCE: Southern Utah's men's cross country team ran the first perfect race in Mid-Continent Conference history as all five Thunderbird scoring runners finished in the top five spots.
The title, won at the Longview Cross County Course in Summit, Mo., was their eighth in the last 10 tries. Meanwhile, the Thunderbird women earned a fourth-place showing.