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BYU women harriers off to Hawaii for meet

PROVO — After winning last week's Autumn Classic and starting the fall with a No. 6 national ranking, the women's cross country team will head to Hawaii for the Big Wave Invitational.

"We're taking some very good runners," coach Patrick Shane said. "I think it will be a strong team."

Chelsea Smith McKell, who won last week's Autumn Classic, will have a homecoming of sorts. She transferred to BYU from BYU-Hawaii after last season. She ran at BYU-H for three seasons and captured the 2003 and 2004 NCAA Division II national individual titles.

There will be eight other women making the trip, including All-American Kristen Ogden, who recently returned from an LDS mission. True freshman Brooke Kirby, who ran unattached last week and placed 15th, will be putting on the BYU uniform for the first time.

With the depth of this year's team, Shane was able to keep most of the runners, who are making the trip to Hawaii, out of last week's meet. In doing so, he said they were able to train hard and he feels they are ready to go.

"We've got a talented team," Shane said. "If we can take seven of eight athletes that maybe wouldn't be in our top five and say, 'Now it's up to you,' they will rise to the occasion."

Shane said the local teams from Hawaii always participate in the meet, along with a few from the mainland, making the field deep.

The men's team has the week off to prepare for their road trip to Minnesota, where they will race in the Griak Invitational. The Mondo Men's NCAA-I Cross Country Pre-season poll has them ranked No. 4 after last week.

Men's coach Ed Eyestone said the poll is based on last season as well as the first two meets of this season, adding that the No. 4 ranking is the highest for BYU this early in the season for a number of years.