Season Preview: What to watch for from the local D1 XC teams


With 2 weekends already behind us this Cross Country season, it looks like it will be a great season across the state. At the next level, the local college teams are gearing up for the season to begin. for the preseason Alumni Report, here is a little season outlook for all the teams across the state, from north to south.


Utah State- Both the Men’s and the Women’s teams of USU have been picked to finish 5th in the MWC according to the preseason polls. It will be the Aggies first season in the MWC. The Men’s team looks to be led by Senior Kyle McKenna and Junior Eric Shellhorn. They were 26th and 44th individually in the NCAA Mountain Region last season. The Women’s team’s top returner from last season is freshman Tylee Newman. The Men’s team is ranked 12th in the region with the Women’s team is ranked 11th. (View full USU press release)

Weber State- Last season the Weber State Women’s team captured their first ever regional title and went on to place 17th at the NCAA Championships. They enter the season ranked 24th in the USTFCCCA pre season polls. They will be led by All-American Amber Henry, who won the last two Big Sky titles and looks for a third. The Men’s team was picked 3rd in the Big Sky conference, just one point behind SUU. According to a press release on the WSU website, the Wildcats look to be led by Senior John Coyle. (View WSU Press Release)

University of Utah- The Utes Women’s team was 6th in the Mountain Region last season, and looks to improve on that mark. The Pac 12 pre season polls have yet to be released, but they finished. They Utes are led by Giselle Slotboom and Susannah Hurst.

UVU- Utah Valley University starts the 2013 season with a new conference. They join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and should make an impact right away. Though conference rankings have yet to be released, the Men’s team looks to lead the conference. The Men’s Program also starts the season ranked 7th in the mountain region, and are the 2nd highest ranked team in the state. Trevor Sharp looks to lead the Wolverines heading in to this season. They also get Trac Norris back from an LDS mission. Before he left he performed very well as a freshman and will be a great asset to the team. The Women’s team begins the season ranked 10th in the mountain region, and should also be the favorite to win the WAC Championship. Darian Sharp led the Wolverines last season. As a freshman she placed 30th at the Mountain Regional championship . She looks to lead the team again this season along with Sophomore Bridget Hazel.

BYU- The Cougar Men start the season ranked 4th in the NCAA pre-season polls. They finished 6th at the NCAA championships last season and return 4 of their 5 scorers. They are ranked 3rd in the mountain region behind Northern Arizona and Colorado. They are led by All-American Tylor Thatcher and Senior Connor Peloquin. They are also the favorite to win the WCC Championship. The Women’s team is ranked 7th in the Mountain Region pre-season polls, and 2nd in the WCC behind San Francisco. They are led by Natalie Shields who was 4th in the WCC and 14th in the Mountain Region last season. (BYU Full Press Release)

SUU- The Thunderbird Men are set for a good season, and if everything goes right it could be the best season ever for SUU. They are led by Ryan Barrus, a Senior who ran at Bingham High. He boasts a 14:02 5k PR and should have a shot at making NCAA’s as an individual. Hayden Hawks, a sophomore who ran at Snow Canyon High will also be a name to watch. According to the SUU staff he has a shot at stepping up as their top guy and also has a chance at making nationals with Barrus. They also got a transfer from San Diego Mesa CC, Dylan Marx. He rounds out a strong 1-3 for the Thunderbirds. In preseason polls they are ranked 2nd in the Big Sky and 10th the region. The Women’s team, despite losing a lot of talent from last season, are ranked 5th in the Mountain Region and 3rd in the Big Sky Conference. They are led by seniors Shelli Morgensen and Dayna VanArsdol. (View Big Sky press release)

Colorado- Park City Alumni Ben Saarel headed to Boulder to join the CU Buffaloes, and he will hope to make an immediate impact. They are ranked 3rd in the NCAA in the pre season polls and we will keep close tabs on this team and what they Ben can contribute. 

NCAA National  Pre-season Polls

NCAA Regional Pre-season Polls