BYU cross-country: The 2012 BYU women's cross-country season comes to an end but will return with experience next season

By Steven Tew

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Nov. 19 2012 6:30 p.m. MST

“Even though Rachel was a walk-on this year, she led our team in most of our workouts and several races,” Shane said. “In every race, she put blinders on and got to work. She showed her team how to work for something she really wanted, and because of that work ethic, she’s going to be an All-American some day along with Natalie.”

Vidmar, a senior from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., was also a walk-on at the beginning of her time at BYU. She did not travel with the team most of her career but made it her goal to be apart of the travel team and run in the championships this season.

“Kathryn is a Cinderella story,” Shane said. “She came to me at the beginning of the season and told me she wanted to compete in the final six races. ‘I know I can do it,’ she said. She started out slow, but came to me midway through and asked me to give her another shot. The best part is she made the most of her opportunity. To see her achieve her goal is one of my most rewarding experiences in my 33 years of coaching.”

Despite the youth and inexperience of the team, the Cougars did have some depth from senior captain Michaelanne Laurent and junior Lindsey Sowards Neilson.

Laurent, from Las Vegas, Nev., maintained her spot as a top two or three runner for BYU throughout the season and provided a consistent performance in every race. She finished 31st in Toledo, 88th in Wisconsin, 22nd in the conference championships and 46th at regionals.

Nielson, an Alamosa, Colo., native, also maintained a spot as a top two or three runner for BYU this year after spending much of her time injured during previous cross-country seasons.

“Lindsey is a firecracker,” Shane said. “She really opened up this year, and it was obvious she felt comfortable about who she was as a runner. She will only become more expressive in and out of her races, which is something our team will need.”

Overall, Shane felt the highlight of the 2012 season was helping the new and returning runners continue to develop as runners and find their fit on the team.

“This is a fun group to coach,” Shane said. “All of these athletes have great attitudes and are undaunted about what lies ahead. As a coach, that’s all you can ask for, and because of their attitudes we’re going to take off in the coming years.”

Steven Tew is an SID at BYU Athletic Communications. He can be contacted at wtrack_sid@byu.edu,

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