Mark A. Philbrick
2011 NCAA Cross Country Championship hosted by Indiana State University at Terra Haute, Indiana. BYU men's team place 4th with 203 points. Wisconsin wins the title with 97 points. Miles Batty (60) place 14th Rex Shields (65) placed 22nd Jared Ward (68) Tylor Thatcher (67) Jason Witt (69) Curtis Carr (61) Alden Bahr (59).

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - No. 8 BYU men’s cross-country took fourth place for a spot on the podium at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships on Saturday.

"We ended up on the podium and that certainly was a huge goal for us this year," head coach Ed Eyestone said. "I'm proud of the way the guys hung in there to get a podium spot. Tylor Thatcher really rose to the occasion and we benefitted from having Jared Ward back. He gave it his all. It's always good to finish on the podium."

Thatcher led the Cougars, finishing in 21st place for his second All-American finish in as many years. Ward, running in just his second race since having his eligibility reinstated, took 36th overall for his second straight All-American performance.

"We had some guys come through and had great finishes," Thatcher said. "Overall it was pretty good. Our goal going into it was to get on the podium and we are very excited to be have accomplished that goal."

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Jonathan Nelson finished in 68th place as the third Cougar to cross the finish line. Jason Witt, the West Coast Conference individual champion, took 87th. Spencer Gardner was the last scoring runner for the Cougars, finishing in 118th place. Thomas Gruenewald and Steve Flint took 120th and 137th, respectively.

The Cougars finished with 267 points. Colorado took first overall with 149 points for its fourth national championship in program history. Northern Arizona finished in second place with 169 points, and Oklahoma State was third, finishing with 230 points. Oregon rounded out the top five with 274 points.

It was the Cougars' second podium finish under Eyestone, as BYU finished in fourth place in 2011.

Justin Green is the sports information director over men's track and cross country for BYU Athletic Communications. He is a BYU student majoring in public relations and minoring in business and will graduate in April 2013. Email: justinjgreen8@gmail.