The BYU men’s and women’s cross country teams took first place in the season opener for both programs at the Autumn Classic on Saturday, Sept. 15, in Logan, Utah.
Due to poor air conditions from two large mountain fires in Utah County, the Autumn Classic was relocated from East Bay Golf Course in Provo to Innovation Park Course in Logan.
Both men’s and women’s teams finished on top with perfect scores of 15, placing them above the other teams that competed at the meet – Utah State, Santa Clara, Weber State, Dixie State and Westminster.
The women competed in a 5K race followed by the men who ran in a 7K race.
“I was impressed with the group running that we had, especially early on. We wanted to cruise the first 4K and then push the last 3K,” head coach Ed Eyestone said. “For Clayson Shumway to get the win was fun, and the other guys looked great and under control. It’s early in the season, but it’s a good way to start.”
The No. 2 men were led to victory by Clayson Shumway(20:56.2) in first place, Conner Mantz (20.56.5) in second, Rory Linkletter (20.56.6) in third, Connor McMillan (20.56.7) in fourth and Danny Carney (20:56.8) in fifth. BYU claimed seven of the top-10 spots. Utah State (60) and Weber State (87) finished behind the men’s team.
Along with the performances of the top-five scoring men, Eyestone said he was impressed by the non-uniform runners who will be considered over the next two weeks as candidates for the official travel team.
On the women’s side, Erica Birk-Jarvis and Whittni Orton finished in first and second place, respectively, in the 5K race. For her first meet back since the 2016 season, Birk-Jarvis ran a career-best time of 17:00.9. Orton ran a time of 17:15.1, followed by Olivia Hoj (17.41.2) in third, Courtney Wayment (17:46.4) in fourth and freshman Aubrey Frentheway (17:51.0) in fifth. The No. 16 women’s team secured nine of the top-10 spots, finishing ahead of Utah State (53) and Santa Clara (96).2 comments on this story
“I was pretty pleased overall. We wanted to get a good race prior to going to Notre Dame at the end of this month,” BYU women’s cross-country coach Diljeet Taylor said. “It’s good for me to see our lineup going into our season. We’re in a pretty hard block of training, so I expected them to be running with tired legs. The times that they ran with tired legs is impressive for this early in the season.”
Taylor was pleased to see how Birk-Jarvis and Orton worked together to ultimately take the top-two spots with a close finish. Taylor also said that Saturday’s meet was a good indicator of how the freshmen will perform at a collegiate level.
After a two-week break, the teams will head to the Joe Piane Invite in Notre Dame, Indiana, on Friday, Sept. 28.