A nationally ranked cross-country program is gaining a local recruit.

Idaho Falls senior Zach Erikson signed with BYU’s cross-country and track programs Wednesday evening at his home. The senior drew much attention from other prestigious programs, including Weber State, Boise State and Utah State, but said BYU is his dream school and expressed a bit of disbelief about the fact he will be running for the Cougars. The BYU men placed third at last year’s NCAA Division I cross-country championships and are headed to nationals again Saturday in Madison, Wisc., with the women’s team.

“I still don’t really think it actually happened,” Erikson said Wednesday. “I’ve been thinking about BYU for so long. I was never really good enough for the standards they set. I was always striving for it. Now that I have, it’s like, ‘Wait, what?’”

Erikson said scholarships for BYU cross-country and track vary semester by semester, and he said he was willing to sacrifice some scholarship money for the opportunity to ‘be a part of something special’ in Provo. That being said, he added that BYU will still be covering a decent portion of his expenses.

Erikson made a two-day official visit to BYU in early October with three other recruits, touring the campus and facilities. He described the current runners as a great group of guys who were welcoming and fun, and he jumped on his decision once the Cougars extended an offer.

“BYU has always been my school of choice,” Erikson said. “Once they made the offer, it was like, ‘I commit.’”

Erikson said the coaches asked him for his opinion on what events he would like to compete in college track. He said he would like to run the 10k and the steeplechase, the latter of which he competed in twice as a sophomore.

“It was super fun,” he said.

Marlowe Hereford is a sports reporter for the Post Register. Contact her at 208-542-6772 and find her on Twitter at @mwhereford.

Marlowe Hereford has worked for the Post Register since August 2011. She has covered 11 different high school sports, Olympic sports and recreational sports.

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