The BYU men’s cross country finished third at the NCAA championship meet Saturday morning, the program’s best finish in 25 years.
The Cougars, who were ranked second nationally entered the meeting, finished with 165 points, behind top-ranked and defending champion Northern Arizona (74) and West Coast Conference rival Portland (127) in the team standings of the 10-kilometer event.
Freshman Casey Clinger was the top individual finisher for the Cougars. The former American Fork star was 24th overall with a time of 29 minutes, 46.4 seconds. Connor McMillan finished 30th at 29:52.3, followed by Rory Linkletter (39th) at 2959.1 and Daniel Carney (42) at 30:03.5.
Syracuse’s Justyn Knight was the individual champion, finishing in 29:00.1, followed by NAU teammates Matthew Baxter and Tyler Day.
Utah State’s Dillon Maggard was the top local finisher. The senior from Kirkland, Washington placed sixth overall with a time of 29:16.2 for the Aggies, who finished 27th as a team.
“I guess I went out with a bang," Maggard said in a news release. "I was trying to stay in good position the whole race and cover moves. The front pack went out hard and I was in a chase pack and started to reel them in. I was just trying to cover moves and stayed focus. I kept looking for coach and it went really well."
Matthew Wright led Southern Utah to an 11th-place team finish with a team of 30:29.0, edging out teammate Mike Tate (30:29.7). Utah Valley’s Tyson Lambert, who competed as an individual, finished 104th in 30:46.6.
"I was so grateful to be here," said Lambert, a Grantsville native. "I couldn't ask for a better way to end my collegiate cross country career. It was really amazing to see some of the country's best runners in person. It means a lot to represent UVU, and I hope the whole team can make it here one day."
In the women’s meet, BYU finished 11th with 342 team points and Utah State edged Michigan State on a tiebreaker for 14th place overall in the 6K event.
Davis High grad Courtney Payment finished first for the Cougars, coming in 71st at 20:29.4, just ahead of teammate Kristi Rush in 20:31.4.
Utah’s Grayson Murphy was the top local finisher on the women’s side. The former West High soccer player finished eighth overall with a time of 19:36.3, finishing in a pack behind individual champion Edna Kurgat of New Mexico (19:19.5).
Alyssa Snyder led the Aggies with a time of 20:03.4 for 25th individually.
Complete results are available at NCAA.com.