Portland has amassed an unprecedented 32 consecutive West Coast Conference men’s cross country titles but the steak is in jeopardy this Saturday against new WCC member Brigham Young.
BYU enters the meet ranked third in the nation after a win at the Notre Dame Invitational and runner-up finish at the Wisconsin Invitational. Miles Batty, the 2010 Mountain West champion, has established himself as one of the nation’s best cross country runners in addition to his credential in the 1500/mile distance on the track. The Cougars’ second and third men Jared Ward and Rex Shields have made significant improvements this fall and are major reasons behind the team’s success.
Portland is headlined by junior Trevor Dunbar who continues to be a consistent big meet performer. The Pilots, currently eighth in the USTFCCCA poll, were second at Pre-Nationals but will need their number four and five guys to step it up. One advantage they do have over BYU is experience on the tough Crystal Springs course located in the San Francisco suburb of Belmont, Calif. Unlike many collegiate cross country courses, it has a number of grueling hills that can punish the tactically unwise.
The women’s team contest will likely come down to 29th-ranked and two-time defending champion San Francisco and BYU. Tara Erdmann of Loyola Marymount, a five-time All-American, is the individual favorite in the women’s race.
The meet will be streamed live Saturday morning. The men’s race is set to begin at 9:00 AM Pacific Time and the women will start at 9:45 AM. Click here for the live stream.