With All-American Jared Ward reinstated by the NCAA last week, the BYU men's cross country will compete in the NCAA Championships on Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., at full strength and hoping for a podium finish.
The Cougars dropped to No. 8 in the national rankings after taking fourth in last weekend's Mountain Region Championships, but coach Ed Eyestone held out some key athletes in an attempt to have more fresh legs available at nationals. Ward, running for the first time all season after his final year of eligibility was restored by the NCAA the previous day, placed fourth.
"Our team is coming together at the right time," Eyestone said. "I think we are in a good position to get on the podium [top four]. We know what we need to do individually and as a team. We have our sights set very high."
BYU is also led by West Coast Conference champion Jason Witt and 2012 All-American Tylor Thatcher.
BYU's women's cross country team will also compete at nationals in Terre Haute, having been selected for an at-large bid. The Cougars finished third at the Mountain Region Championships in Riverdale last week and are ranked No. 30 nationally.
They are led by Andrea Nelson Harrison, Natalie Shields and Makenna Smith.
Utah's women's cross country team did not qualify for nationals, but junior Rebekah Winterton will represent the Utes after finishing 10th individually at the Mountain Region Championships in Riverdale last week. Winterton, an All-Pac-12 performer, is from Salt Lake City and ran for Skyline High.