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Cougs' Rohatinsky captures 3rd race in row; BYU 5th

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — For the third time in as many cross country meets, Josh Rohatinsky finished first overall and helped guide Brigham Young University to a fifth-place finish Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Men's coach Ed Eyestone simply described Rohatinsky in one simple yet powerful word: "Fearless."

The BYU sophomore ran the 8K event in a time of 23:40, edging out Notre Dame's sophomore Kurt Binningen by three tenths of a second.

"Josh is the guy who brings it when he wants to," said Eyestone. "With under a mile to go, Josh put a move on the leader and pushed himself till the race was over. The guy left people in his wake."

Rohatinsky, the 2001 MWC Freshman of the Year, has been a force to be reckoned with since returning home from his mission in Uruguay in 2003.

Coming in at fifth place, with a time of 23:48, was senior Bryan Lindsay.

"Bryan passed 10 people over the last mile and really finished strong," said Eyestone. "I was very pleased with how we ran overall as a team.

The Cougars finished with 126 points but were one place behind defending Mountain West Conference champion Air Force Academy.

Nathan Robison, a 2003 All-American, competed in the race despite recovering from an ankle sprain and a cold. Robison finished with a time of 24:43, which placed him 52nd overall.

Other finishers included freshman Chandler Goodwin (34th, 24:26), senior Chad Durham (42nd, 24:35) and junior Nick McCombs (44th, 24:35).

BYU WOMEN FINISH FOURTH: At Cary, N.C., the Cougar women's team finished fourth Friday afternoon at the Great American Cross Country Festival Friday afternoon.

"I can't remember the last time we came in fourth place at a meet," said coach Patrick Shane. "This really was a tough meet."

Battling the heat and humidity, three-time All-American Laura Turner led the Cougars and finished fourth overall among a field of 154 runners.

"Laura ran really well today," Shane said. "She's a seasoned veteran who's a tough runner to beat. She really looked strong out there."

The senior finished the six-kilometer event with a time of 17:04.55, with an average mile time of 4:34.8. Duke's Shannon Rowbury took the overall title as well as helping guide the Blue Devils to first place overall.

"We got the chance to see how good we are today," said Shane. "I wasn't surprised where we finished as a team. We had a tough three weeks of training, and we really didn't let up prior to the race."

Rena Chesser, who placed first overall at the BYU Autumn Classic three weeks ago, came across the line as the second Cougar to finish. The senior placed 12th with a time of 17:35.33. Behind Chesser and finishing 18th overall was freshman Heidi Magill, who was competing in her first collegiate race.

Despite coming in fourth place, the Cougars felt confident in the way they performed.

"We all feel we ran well as a team, despite where we finished," said Turner. "We pushed through the race and felt we competed hard as a team."

Two of the team's top runners — sophomore Amber Harper and junior Suzanna Logan — didn't make the trip; they should be ready to go in a couple of weeks.

Sophomore Anne Heiner placed 44th (18:21.61), senior Jami Caldwell finished 46th overall (18:22.83) and sophomore Kristy Barrus finished 51st (18:29.15).