PROVO, Utah – Many strong runners return for 2012, and BYU head coach Patrick Shane adds what he calls the best cross country recruiting class in BYU history.

"There's no question this is the best group of girls I've ever signed," Shane said. "It’s getting time for me to retire here soon, but it's not going to be for at least another five years. I want to see all of these girls go through this program because there isn't a finer group of long distance runners in the country, I believe."

Included in this year’s incoming class are Utah natives Ashleigh Warner, Natalie Shields and Erica Birk. During the high school BYU Invitational this past year, all three girls broke the 1,600-meter state record with times of 4:50.13, 4:51.02 and 4:51.03, respectively. Also, competing in the race was future teammate Laura Young who finished fourth with a time of 4:56.43. Shields is also the cousin of BYU men’s cross-country All-American Rex Shields.

Other runners in this year’s recruiting class are Carrie Jube, Erika Reddish and Danica Wyson. Jube, who had a successful career at Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, finished fifth in state in cross-country and sixth in state in the 3,200 during her senior year. She also led her cross-country team to a first-place region finish placing third overall.

Reddish is known as one of the best distance runners to come out of Murreita, Calif., according to the North County Times. During her four years at Vista Murreita High School, she won the 1,600 at the Southwestern League finals four years in a row and set three Valley records in the 800, the 1,600 and the 3,200.

Wyson, a product of Laguna Niguel, Calif., spent most of her junior year struggling with injuries but returned as a senior as one of the top distance runners in Calif. She finished fourth at the South Coast League finals, fifth at the CIF-SS finals and 12th at the Division I state finals.

“After we finished the recruiting process with these girls, I kept thinking where have they all been,” Shane said. “It has just been one of those years to find a special group of girls.

Throughout Shane’s 32 years of coaching, he and his cross-country teams won four NCAA Division I National Championships, 24 conference championships and finished in the Top-10 19 times. He has coached six Olympians, 48 All-Americans and was named the NCAA coach of the year three times.

“It’s been a long time since I have found such a strong group of runners,” Shane said, “and given the exceptional runners we have had here over the years, that says a lot."

Ashleigh Warner

Mountain View High School, Orem, Utah

  • 800 – 2:12.31 New PR, winning the Utah State 4A Championship
  • 1600 – 4:50.13 (Altitude adjusted 1600 = 4:44.72) BYU Invitational
  • 3200 – 10:52.23 (Altitude adjusted 3200 = 10:37) BYU Invitational
Utah State 4A Champion: 800, 1600 & Medley and is the state record holder in the 1600

Natalie Shields

East High School, Salt Lake City, Utah

  • 1600 – 4:51.03 (Altitude adjusted 1600 = 4:45.66) BYU Invitational 3
  • 3200 – 10:14.16 (Altitude adjusted 3200 = 10:10) New Balance Outdoor Nationals
Utah State 4A Champion: 3200 and a second-place finish at BYU Invitational 1600

Erica Birk

North Summit High School, Coalville, Utah

  • 800 – 2:11.97 New State 2A Record & Utah State Meet 2A Record
  • 1600 – 4:51.02 (Altitude adjusted 1600 = 4:45.65) BYU Invitational
  • 3200 – 10:34.66 (Altitude adjusted 3200 = 10:20) BYU Invitational
Utah State 2A Champion: 800, 1600, 3200 & Medley Relay and holds the Utah 2A State & State Meet records in the 800, 1600, 3200 & Medley Relay

Laura Young

Bingham High School, South Jordan, Utah

  • 1600 – 4:56.43 (Altitude adjusted 1600 = 4:51) BYU Invitational
  • 3200 – 10:54.96 (Altitude adjusted 3200 = 10:40) BYU Invitational
Scored in both the 5A, 1600 & 3200 at the Utah State Meet

Carrie Jube

Timpview High School, Provo, Utah

  • 1600 – 5:06.10 (Altitude adjusted 1600 = 5:04) Arcadia Invitational
  • 3200 – 11:07.77 (Altitude adjusted 3200 = 10:53) New PR
Scored in both the 4A 1600 & 3200 at the Utah State Meet and set a new school record in the 3200

Erika Reddish

Vista Murrieta High School, Murrieta, California

  • 800 – 2:12.67 Distance Meet of Champions
  • 1600 – 4:48.96 Won the CIF Southern Section Finals (New PR)
  • 3200 – 10:36.27 Arcadia Invitational
Finished fourth at the CIF Master’s 1600 final with a time of 4:48.96 and holds school records in the 800, 1600 and 3200

Danica Wyson

Aliso Niguel High School, Laguna Niguel, California

  • 1600 – 4:59.77 South Coast League Finals
  • 3200 – 10:33.55 2009 CIF State Championships
Finished third at the CIF Southern Section Finals, 10th in the CIF Masters and 12th at the Division I state finals

Steven Tew is an SID at BYU Athletic Communications. He can be contacted at,