U cross country completes BYU Invitational

By By Tye Smith

By Tye Smith

Cross country runners from the U participated Saturday in the Brigham Young University Fall Classic with some disappointing results.

In its first full event of the season, the U squad failed to live up to expectations as the Y ran away with the men’s and women’s team titles.

The U women’s team finished fourth overall, behind not only top-rated BYU, but also less talented opponents Weber State and Utah State.

The men’s team performed even worse, finishing fifth in a field of seven.

Most of the top-tier runners on the men’s team are redshirting this year, which has made things difficult for the young group.

The Fall Classic was not a complete failure for U athletes, however, as the top finisher on the women’s side was sophomore Elise Greenwood.

Her time of 18:10.0 on the 5K course was good enough for fourth place in the individual standings.

As the only runner on either the men’s or women’s squad to complete the race in the top 15 individually, Greenwood was pleased with her success.

“I went out and ran the strategy that coach gave me,” said Greenwood. “I felt good the whole way through.”

Teammate Nellie Hammons, who finished 22nd with a time of 19:14.1, was not pleased with her own time, but was excited about Greenwood’s strong finish.

“I was very pleased for Elise,” said Hammons. “She raced a plan and it’s always nice to see a teammate stick to a game plan.”

Greenwood attributed her strong race to preparation and also to the course design, which is laid out on a golf course.

“The course was great,” she said. “The way it was sectioned off gave you a chance to get a feel for it.”

Hammons, the only U athlete to attend last year’s national track finals, was clearly frustrated with her individual performance.

“I let my head get out of it,” Hammons said. “Running long distances takes a lot of mental preparation, and I wasn’t mentally prepared.”

Hammons said that her goal for the next meet, which is only two weeks away, is to run at least “a minute faster.”

Jeff Davidson, the only senior on a young men’s squad, finished 19th in the four-mile run with a time of 20:45.3.

Obviously not pleased with his race, Davidson commented that he expected better of himself.

“I did what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t do what I wanted to do,” he said. “I’m still moving up.”

Beating out only the likes of Utah Valley State College and Northwest Nazarene University, the men’s team was not expected to do well, even in the eyes of coach Brian Appell.

“We are still planning to redshirt our top runners,” he said. “This is a very young Ute squad.”

Appell explained that his decision to redshirt the best runners is based on concerns for the future.

According to Appell, there are not enough good runners on the men’s side to be highly competitive this year.

By redshirting his top three runners, he will be able to will guarantee that they have eligibility next year when a new class of talent has been imported.

In the meantime, the men’s team is likely to continue to struggle.

“There are four freshmen who will look to improve throughout the season,” Appell said.

As far as leadership goes, the young runners will look to Davidson as their sole veteran leader.

Next up, the Utes will travel to Palo Alto, Calif., to compete in the Stanford Invitational.

The meet, which will be held on Sept. 27, will feature top-level competition from the West Coast.

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