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Doug Padilla, Runnercard.com
BYU women's cross-country team earns first WCC title.
This was kind of a breakthrough race for her. —BYU head coach Patrick Shane on Carrie Jube

PROVO — Carrie Jube kept her hopes high but her expectations modest as she toed the start line of the West Coast Conference cross-country championships on Nov. 1.

“Going into the race, I was hoping to get in the top 10,” she said, admitting it was a “conservative” goal. “I wasn’t sure how I was feeling before. I didn’t want to get my hopes too high.”

As it turned out, she had one of the best races of her career. She finished second overall and led the Cougars to their first WCC cross-country championship.

“I felt really good, and everything just lined up perfectly up to that point. … Now that I’ve done that, it kind of reinforces the confidence in my running ability and in the team’s ability to get things done.”

The team’s goal was winning the conference title — something it hadn’t done in eight years. Just before the race, head coach Patrick Shane asked the runners if any of them had been part of a conference title.

“I didn’t get any hands (raised),” he said. “That means no one had been part of that kind of a team. Sometimes winning is something you have to believe you can do. If you’re not sure you can do it, it’s hard to get that streak going.”

All of them had experienced the disappointment of “coming up short” at conference championships. So Shane used that to fuel their summer workouts.

“We talked about it, got the team on board and we worked really, really hard,” he said. “It took a group of young people who are willing to do all the things necessary to put yourself in that position — good nutrition, getting nine hours of sleep, staying on top of your homework, so they’re not managing stress. They did that and we started to have a pretty good year.”

Shane thought the race would be close, but he was wrong.

“At a small meet like that, to win by 21 points is really a comfortable win,” he said. “The team wanted it really bad and realized if they didn’t get it now, it wasn’t going to happen.”

He was ecstatic about Jube’s performance — even if he was a little surprised.

“Her performance was a little unexpected,” he said of the Timpview alum. “She’s been a solid number two and three runner for us as the season has gone along. There was nothing she’d done her freshman year or last year that would have indicated she’d go out and take the lead. I was really thrilled to see that. … This was kind of a breakthrough race for her.”

Jube ran the 6K course in California in 19:49, Andrea Nelson Harrison finished fourth with a time of 19:56, Makenna Smith was sixth with a time of 20:04 and Jennica Redd finished ninth with a time of 20:26.

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“It means a lot to our team and me,” Jube said after the race. “We know the potential that we have. We have been waiting for a breakthrough race for our team to show people what we can do as a team. The talent has always been there but it’s been a long time coming.”

In addition to winning the conference title, which was Shane’s 25th in 35 years as head coach, the team set a goal of making it to nationals and improving on its 28th-place finish.

That begins Friday morning at noon when the team races in the NCAA’s regional meet in New Mexico. Nationals is on Nov. 22.

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