Utah State's cross-country teams performed well at the BYU-hosted Autumn Classic on Saturday, as the Aggies finished second on both the men's and women's sides. Due to two fires 15 miles south of Provo, the Autumn Classic was moved to Utah State's Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course.
"I thought the guys responded well," said second-year USU head coach Artie Gulden. "BYU may be the top team in the country, and we competed with them. They dominated the race, but we held out some guys and competed."
In all, Gulden held out the top-nine women Aggie runners, while five men got the week off.
The Aggie men placed second with 60 points, finishing behind second-ranked BYU's 15 and ahead of Weber State's 87, Santa Clara's 90, Dixie State's 156 and Westminster's 169.
Junior Luke Beattie led the Aggies as he finished eighth in the men's 7-kilometer race with a time of 19:26.8.
"It was a good start to the season for me," Beattie said. "I told myself I was going to stick with BYU as long as I could, knowing that they have really talented guys. Coach told me some things that got me fired up before the race, and it made me more amped to be out there. It was a solid performance by the Aggies."
The Aggie women, ranked 10th in the nation, finished second as a team with 53 points, behind 17th-ranked BYU's 15 points and ahead of Santa Clara's 96, Pacific's 111, Dixie State's 142 and Westminster's 142.Comment on this story
Sophomore Bailee Parker finished first among Aggie women runners in the 5-kiometer run, placing 17th overall with a time of 18:30.2. Freshman Camille Wirthlin also earned a top-20 finish as she came in 19th place, clocking in a time of 18:32.3.
"I felt really good going into the race, and I was really excited to be able to race again," Parker said. "Throughout the race, we had a good pack in the front right behind BYU. We really held onto that, and that helped a lot of us out. I love my team, and we all looked great today."
The Aggies return to action on Saturday, Sept. 29, when they travel to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the Paul Short Run, which begins at 7:30 a.m. MT.