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BYU dominates cross country

PROVO — Napoleon and Europe. Genghis Khan and Asia. BYU and Mountain West cross country.

The Cougar runners continued their absolute domination of the conference's cross country landscape with a clean sweep of the conference championships Saturday in Fort Collins, Colo.

Heidi Magill captured the 6-kilometer women's race with a meet-record time of 20:42.4, leading her team to its 18th consecutive title. Chelsea Smith McKell finished second, Breanne Sandberg was fourth, Ann Heiner seventh and Amy Fowler ninth, for a team score of 23.

In capturing their eighth conference title in nine years, the men were led by another dominating performance from Josh Rohatinsky, who also set a meet record for the men's race of 24:12.9. Chandler Goodwin took fourth place, Dustin Bybee was fifth, Josh McAdams was fifth and Tyrel Jensen was 10th, giving the team a score of 27.

For winning their respective races, Magill and Rohatinsky earned MWC Runner of the Year honors, and both were named to the All-MWC first team. McKell, Sandberg and Heiner joined Magill on the All-MWC women's first team, while Goodwin, Bybee and McAdams earned the honor with Rohatinksy on the men's side.

Fowler and Ann Marie Thomas were named to the All-MWC women's second team, while Jacob Gustaffson and Jensen were selected for the All-MWC men's second team.

Fowler and Gustaffson were also named Freshman of the Year in their respective divisions.

Now, the teams will turn their focus to the biggest prize of all: the national title. The Cougars will host the Mountain Regional, a qualifying meet for the NCAA Championships, Nov. 12 at the East Bay Golf Course in Provo. The top two teams from that meet will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.

BYU, however, has had enough strong performances at other meets this year to likely earn an at-large bid to the NCAA meet. If that is the case, coaches have said they are likely to keep their top runners out of the Mountain Regional race so they are well-rested for the NCAA meet.

MEN'S VOLLEYBALL: On consecutive nights in Dallas last weekend, the BYU men's volleyball team earned back-to-back 3-1 victories over defending national champion Pepperdine.

The matches were only exhibition and will not count toward team records when the season begins in January, but they did provide an auspicious preview for the 2006 team.

Fans can catch a glimpse of the team at the Blue and White Match, held Friday at 7 p.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.

The season begins Jan. 6, when the Cougars open up with a two-game homestand against Cal Baptist.

POLL WATCH: One of just three undefeated teams in Division I, the BYU women's volleyball team (20-0) continued its slow march up the rankings this week, moving from No. 13 to No. 12 in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches' poll.

In the latest MONDO men's cross country poll, BYU held steady at No. 6, while the women's team moved up a spot to No. 7 in the latest FinishLynx poll.

After a 1-1 tie with archrival Utah in the regular-season finale, the BYU women's soccer team (15-1-3) fell from No. 13 to No. 17 in the soccerbuzz.com poll. The team only slipped one spot in the soccertimes.com poll, from No. 13 to No. 14.


E-mail: jtwitchell@desnews.com