TERRE HAUTE, Ind. Pre-Nationals is a good midseason barometer of where a cross country team stands, and BYU women and men finished in sixth and 11th places, respectively.
Because of the number of school competing, races were in "blue" and "white" divisions.
The No. 15 BYU women ran in the 6K white race against 35 other teams, with freshman Angela Wagner leading the way with a time of 20:59, good for 26th place. The BYU men ran in the 8K blue race against 38 other teams, as junior Stephan Shay paced the Cougars with a time of 23:52. Shay finished in 26th place as well.
The BYU women tied for sixth, topping No. 18 Providence, No. 20 Florida, No. 23 Iowa and No. 28 Georgia.
Just 26 seconds separated the scoring top five for BYU, the closest splits the team has had with its top runners all year. BYU women's coach Patrick Shane said he was especially impressed with the race of senior Jenna Jensen.
"Jenna Jensen had the best race of the year, and maybe her life," Shane said of Jensen's 21:18, good for third among Cougar runners.- "I'm really happy with her effort, and it shows the depth of our team."
Wagner said she ran well for the first 3K, but got tired over the final half-mile.
"That last half-mile went pretty bad," Wagner admitted. "A 6K race is still a stretch for me considering I'm an 800m runner."
Behind Wagner was sophomore Katie Bowen (21:00), Jensen, freshman Cecily Lemmon (21:20) and junior Amber Duffin (21:25).
For the BYU men, "it was probably our best overall run this year," coach Ed Eyestone. "I was particularly impressed with our third through six runners. We've just got to close the gap a little bit between our second and third runners."
Trailing just five seconds behind Shay for the Cougars was 2005 All-American Chandler Goodwin. There was then a 19-second gap with the next four Cougar runners finishing just six seconds apart.
"Stephan and I ran by each other the whole race," Goodwin said. "This course that we ran on today was in great shape. It was cool and overcast perfect racing conditions."
Rounding out the top 5 for the Cougars were sophomore Brandon Hebbert (24:16), junior Dan Hinckley (24:18) and junior Jacob Gustafsson (24:22).
Both BYU teams will be in action on Oct. 27 in San Diego for the Mountain West Conference Championships.
WEBER STATE: The Wildcat men's team finished 12th in its race and the women's team 15th. It was the final meet before the 'Cats compete at the Big Sky Championships.
The Wildcat men's squad finished 12th in the white race after entering the meet ranked 26th in the nation. Weber State was one of 12 nationally ranked teams in the white race.
Once again WSU was led by senior Seth Pilkington who finished 18th overall in a meet of 273 runners, with a time of 23:44 on the 8K course. Pilkington has led the 'Cats in both races he has competed in this season.
The next Wildcat finisher was Bryant Jensen who was 70th at 24:16, followed by Bret Ferrier, 71st at 24:16 and David Olson 79th at 24:20.
Senior Sariah Long led the way for the Weber women the fourth time this season by finishing 14th place overall, in a meet of 235 runners, with a time of 20:37. Teammate Morgan Haws was just behind at 20:39.
UTAH STATE: Junior Seth Wold led the men's cross country team to a 29th place finish out of 40 teams in the men's 8K white race. The women's team finished 27th out of 38 teams in the women's 6K blue race.
Wold finished 53rd out of 273 runners with a time of 24:06, while freshman Nick Bolinder came in 142nd with a time of 24:56.
The women were led by senior Amy Egan who finished 91st out of 259 runners with a time of 21:37. Following Egan was junior Allison Taylor who came in 129th with a time of 22:05.
The USU cross country teams continue action Oct. 27 as they host the Western Athletic Conference Championships.