BYU is practically synonymous with NCAA Cross Country.
The Cougar men’s and women’s harriers travel to Terre Haute, Indiana on Saturday to participate in the 2010 Pre-Nationals Invitational.
Both programs will have an opportunity to see how they stack up against many of the top teams in the country.
The men enter the meet ranked 19th in the nation and will have an opportunity to run see how they match up against four of the nation’s top eight teams, including No. 1 Stanford.
The men’s team is led by junior Miles Batty from Sandy, Utah.
Batty wasn’t highly recruited when he entered head coach Ed Eyestone’s program in 2005, but the former Jordan High star has developed into one of the top cross country athletes in the country.
Eyestone believes that Batty is poised to make some real noise by the time Nationals roll around in November.
Batty has finished first in two of the Cougars’ three meets this season. He says he is very interested to see exactly how he matches up at this point in the season with the other top runners from around the country.
He also says he is just trying to take everything in stride and not get too caught up in the weight being place on his shoulders as the lead runner for the Cougars and the high praise he has received from his head coach.
The BYU women are coming off of a strong showing at the Notre Dame Invitational two weeks ago with an 11th-place finish in a meet that included the top five teams in the nation. The Cougars have finished in the top 10 at the Pre-Nationals in eight of the past 10 years.
Women’s head coach Patrick Shane, who has coached BYU to four national titles and three runners-up finishes in the past 13 years, says that the meet is important to not only to see how his team stacks up, but it is also an important event for the Cougars to earn points for the NCAA Nationals.
Though traditionally a fixture at the National Championships, Shane says BYU may well need a good showing at the Pre-Nationals this year to return to Terre Haute for another shot at a national championship next month.
Shane’s lead runner is Katie Bowen from Alpine, Utah.
Bowen is an experienced runner that has taken to her role as a leader for the BYU women. Though this year's team may be off the pace from some of the other top Cougar teams, Bowen believes that the Cougars are starting to gel at the right time and beginning to develop the ability to run together as a squad at or near the front against the nation’s best teams.
Following Pre-Nationals both the men and women will prepare for the Mountain West Conference championships in Laramie on October 29. The Mountain Regional will be held at the Rose Park Golf Course in Salt Lake City on November 13, with NCAA Championships taking place November 22.