Transfer Students Finish 5th and 7th at Nationals

The BYU women's cross country team ran away with the NCAA national championship Monday, Nov. 19, winning their third championship in the past five years. The Cougars scored 62 points to far outdistance second-place North Carolina State which scored 148. It was one of the widest margins of victory in NCAA history. The lowest score wins.
Michaela Mannova | Photo: Mark Philbrick

Three BYU runners — Michaela Manova, a transfer from New Orleans; Jessie Kindschi, a transfer from South Dakota State; and Tara Northcutt, the only senior on the team — finished in the top 10. The Cougars' other two scoring runners, Lindsey Thomsen and Sarah Taylor, finished 23rd and 24th, respectively. Sticking together as a team, the five were separated by only 30 seconds at the finish and each earned All-America honors by finishing in the top 30.

"It is a dream come true for me to win this championship like we did," head coach Patrick Shane said. "Before the race we knew we had a good chance but you can never expect everyone to run as well as the girls did today. You have to savor the moment because this might never happen again."

Manova covered the 6K course in 20:42 for fifth place. Kindschi was seventh.

Northcutt's ninth-place finish earned her a third All-American citation. "It's a rush and a relief to have won so well in the last race of your career," she said.

It wasn't just the scoring runners who contributed to the separation for BYU. The team's sixth and seventh runners — Nan Evans and Amy Bair — finished ahead of the fourth runners on every other team.

"Our girls were simply stronger than their competitors and that's a credit to Jay Omer and the sport-specific weight training program he wrote for us," Shane said. "You also have to give credit to our sports psychologist, Ron Chamberlain, for preparing the team mentally with the imagery and to our trainer, Kevin Morris, for having us healthy coming in."

With three national championships, the women's cross country team has now won more than any other BYU program, breaking a tie with the men's volleyball team.

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