For the second consecutive year, the BYU men’s team placed third in the NCAA cross-country championships Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, while the BYU women’s team faded to a disappointing 14th.
The men’s race unfolded as expected. The top three teams in the national rankings took the top three spots — Oklahoma State (49 points), Northern Arizona (71) and BYU (196).
For BYU, it was a remarkable finish for a team that redshirted two All-Americans this season — Casey Clinger and Davin Thompson.
BYU’s top runner placed no higher than 32nd (James Corrigan) in the field of 254 runners, but the Cougars earned a spot on the podium with depth. BYU received a surprising showing from Kenneth Rooks, the U.S. and NCAA 3,000-meter steeplechase champion who moved up to the longer 10,000-meter distance for cross-country. He finished 35th to earn All-America honors (the top 40). Creed Thompson was 46th, Joey Nokes 56th and Lucas Bons, a sub 4-minute miler, was 63rd.
The race was won by Harvard’s Graham Blanks with a time of 28:37.7.
This marks the eighth-straight year in which BYU has placed among the top seven at nationals, including five top-three placements.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the finish of the BYU women’s team, which had won four of its five competitions this season and finished second in the NCAA Mountain Regional. The Cougars were ranked No. 3 in the nation entering the race.
BYU’s runners started the race too aggressively and paid for it. The team’s top two runners — Carmen Alder and Jenna Hutchings — were 20th and 25th, respectively, at the 2K mark of the 6,000-meter race and faded badly. Alder placed 246th, Hutchings 176th.
BYU’s top finisher was Aubrey Frentheway, who placed 14th with a time of 19:36.5. BYU’s next highest finisher was Carlee Hansen in 66th.
The 14th-place finish is BYU’s worst since 2015. The Cougars had finished among the top 10 in the women’s competition every year since then, including a national championship and two runner-up finishes.
Utah, ranked 20th in the polls, placed 13th, one spot ahead of BYU, in Saturday’s race. Utah top finishers were McKaylie Caesar (26th) and Annastasia Peters (33rd).
Utah Valley University finished 23rd in the 31-team field, led by Morgan Nokes’ 68th-place finish.
The race was won by Florida’s Parker Valby, who took an early lead and ran away from the field, setting a course and meet record of 18:55.2 — more than 10 seconds up on her nearest rival. North Carolina State’s Katelyn Tuohy, the defending champion, placed fifth to help her team win its third consecutive team championship.
How Utahns fared in NCAA championships
- 14. Aubrey Frentheway, BYU
- 26. McKaylie Caesar, Utah
- 33. Annastasia Peters, Utah
- 66. Carlee Hansen, BYU
- 68. Morgan Nokes, Utah Valley
- 89. Morgan Jensen, Utah
- 103. Lexy Halladay, BYU
- 123. Abbie Fuhriman, BYU
- 127. Ari Trimble, Utah Valley
- 146. Sadie Sargent, BYU
- 162. Clara Mayfield, Utah
- 167. Katarzyna Nowakowska, Utah
- 172. Lydia Beus, Utah Valley
- 176. Jenna Hutchins, BYU
- 213. Caila Odekirk, Utah Valley
- 214. Oakley Olson, Utah Valley
- 216. Riley Chamberlain, BYU
- 219. Kyla Martin, Utah
- 220. Karli Branch, Utah
- 246. Carmen Alder, BYU
- 32. James Corrigan, BYU
- 35. Kenneth Rooks, BYU
- 46. Creed Thompson, BYU
- 56. Joey Nokes, BYU
- 63. Lucas Bons, BYU
- 181. Isaac Hedengren, BYU
- DNF Aidan Troutner, BYU