The BYU women's cross country team defended its league title by winning the 1996 WAC Championship at the WAC Cross Country Championships Saturday.
Led by the WAC individual champion, Courtney Pugmire, the Cougars finished first, second, and third and took the team title.The Cougars finished with 23 points, 55 points better than the second place team from UTEP. Following Pugmire (17:07.67) to the finish line was Maggie Chan (17:17.22) and freshman Elizabeth Jackson (17:29.79).
Pugmire was awarded the 1996 WAC Cross Country Athlete of the Year and Jackson was named as the WAC Freshman of the Year. The women's team coach, Patrick Shane was selected by the WAC as the WAC Coach of the Year.
The men's team finished second to Air Force, missing the championship by three points. Air Force had 66 points and BYU finished with 69.
The best finish for the men's team was Fikre Wonderfrash (25:04.23) in fourth place. The men's individual championship went to Mark Ostendarp (24:32.77) from UTEP.
Other finishers for the BYU women's team were Melissa Teemant (17:40.25) in sixth, Lynette Jorgensen (17:44.99) in 11th, Kim Nelson (17:57.33) in 19th, Becky Ward (17:57.64) in 20th, and Jessica Heiner (18:20.53) and Caisa Monahan (18:24.24) who tied for 29th.
Men's finishers included Dan Alder (25:16.38) in eighth, Andrew Carmen (25:35.77) in 14th, Michael Sherman (25:48.43) in 21st, Brandon Wilding (25:48.87) in 22nd, Sam St. Clair (25:55.16) in 25th, Jeffrey Hopkinson (26:02.96) in 28th, Lewis Jones (26:13.91) tied for 33rd, and Chad Schmidt (29:01.66) tied for 80th.
The University of Utah finished third in the men's and women's divisions. The best finisher for the Utes was Jeff Simonich (25:13.58) in fifth place for the men and for the women, Lauren Adams (17:43.02) in 10th place.