BYU Wins National Championship – Another Women’s Cross Country Title

  • 1999

Special to the Deseret News
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 23 1999 12:00 a.m. MST

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Two years ago, the BYU women’s cross country team squeaked by Stanford to claim its first national championship. On Monday, the Cougars won their second title in three years — but this time, it wasn’t even close.

In a dominating performance at the University of Indiana, BYU ran away from the field by a whopping 53 points. The Cougars recorded 72 points, well ahead of second-place Arkansas (125) and third-place Stanford (127), the meet favorite.”This is easily the best team I have ever coached — no question,” said BYU coach Patrick Shane. “The team unity, spirit and feeling was very positive, and it carried them through today.”

Last season, the Cougars finished second, and only five points separated the top three teams. In ’97, they defeated Stanford 100-102.

In Monday’s race, BYU did not leave any doubt as to which team is the country’s best. The Cougars did not have one runner place in the top 10, but their top five runners finished within less than 20 seconds of each other. The Cougars’ second through fifth runners completed the race within six seconds of each other.

Senior Elizabeth Jackson finished first for the team and 11th place overall with a time of 16:59. She was followed by Kara Ormond in 16th (17:11), Tara Rohatinsky in 17th (17:13), Sharolyn

Shields in 23rd (17:16) and Laura Heiner in 26th (17:17). All five earned All-American honors following the race.

The 1999 cross country squad is now the first BYU team to boast two national championships.

Other Cougar teams that have won titles are men’s volleyball (1999), football (1984), men’s golf (1981) and men’s track and field (1970).

It also marked the first national title for the fledgling Mountain West Conference.

In leading his team to the title, Shane employed the same strategy he used in the regionals last week by instructing his athletes to run together in packs.

“It’s like nothing I’ve seen in over twenty years of coaching,” Shane said. “It was one of the most exciting races I’ve ever seen. We were up front in a pack all the way. We moved out front early and were able to run together as a pack for much of the race.”

Jackson credited teamwork for the victory.

“We said last night in a team meeting that we wanted to run for each other, and that’s what we did,” she said. “We ran together as a team.”

Jackson became the first runner in BYU history to be named All-American four times in cross country.


The Cougars, who were hoping for a top-10 finish, placed 30th.

John Hedengren (157th, 32:49), David Danley (196th, 33:24), Dula Parkinson (222nd, 33:55) and Nate Harrison (228th, 34:07) rounded out the scoring for BYU.

Senior Matt Poulsen, who stayed up all night wheezing with asthma problems, was forced to withdraw midway through the race, while fellow senior Marc Lawson limped to a 240th-place finish with severe muscle cramps.

Weber State Men

Weber State’s men’s cross country team placed 18th (450 points) at the NCAA Division One National Championships, Monday in Bloomington, Indiana.

The Wildcats were led by junior Jason Schoenfeld, who placed 38th overall, and 30th in the team scoring. Schoenfeld earned All-American honors by placing among the top 25 American runners.

Southern Utah/Utah Men

SUU, the NCAA Mountain Region champion, finished 21st (466 points); BYU, which placed 3rd at the Mountain Region meet, was 30th (717 points). . . . Colorado, which placed 2nd at the Mountain Region meet two weeks, ago, was 7th overall (307 points).

Arkansas took home the men’s title with 58 team points, followed by Wisconsin (185) and North Carolina State (201).

University of Utah runner Chris Merkley placed 11th overall with a time of 30:46.

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