After experiencing success at the national level in his four years of high school cross-country, Thunder Ridge’s Stetson Moss will be joining a collegiate program that has climbed the national ranks in recent seasons.
Moss verbally committed to BYU for cross-country and track upon the conclusion of his official visit to Provo the weekend of Nov. 9 and signed his national letter of intent Monday evening during Thunder Ridge’s end of season banquet. On Nov. 15, the Cougars won the women’s team title at the NCAA Mountain Region Championships for the first since 2003 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Division I cross-country championships scheduled for Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., while the men placed third and received an at-large bid from the NCAA on Saturday to compete at nationals.
The BYU men were ranked No. 3 and the BYU women were ranked No. 3 in the most recent NCAA Division I Men’s Cross Country National Coaches’ Poll released Monday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Moss said BYU’s national success was a big factor in his decision to run for the Cougars. His original short list also included Gonzaga, North Carolina, Boise State, Northern Arizona, Stanford and Colorado, and he was also recruited by some NCAA Division II schools including Adams State (Colo.), which has won 12 men’s national titles and 17 women’s national titles.
“This has been definitely one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Moss said by phone. “They were all great programs. It was a very, very good experience for me as well as humbling experience just to know that some of these amazing programs wanted me to run for their coach and team. In the end, I feel like I made the right (decision) choosing BYU. On my visit, everything fit. I fit really well with the team and the coach. I want to major in business entrepreneurship and their business program is very, very good.”
He continues a talented pipeline of Idaho runners in Provo, including some from District 6. Rachel Morrin (2018 Madison graduate and 2015 5A girls cross-country state champion) is currently a sophomore, 2019 Idaho Falls graduate and 2018 Footlocker Nationals qualifier Zach Erikson will arrive in Provo in 2021 upon completion of his Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints mission, and 2019 Shelley graduate and four-time state high jump champion Ty Wright signed with BYU for track. Moss also joins Mountain View senior Lexy Halladay, who has received Idaho’s Gatorade Player of the Year award twice for girls cross-country and twice for girls track, and nationally ranked runner Easton Allred of Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, as BYU’s Class of 2020 recruits.
Moss added he is also looking forward to the return of Nike Cross Nationals boys champions Casey Clinger and Aidan Troutner from their missions.
“It’s gonna be fantastic,” Moss said. “I can’t wait to actually run with those guys.”
Another factor in his decision was BYU’s business program. Moss already knows what he wants to study, adding that he will likely serve a mission.
“Most likely I’ll be going on mission after that first year,” Moss said. “I want to major in business entrepreneurship and their business program is very very good.”
As for track, Moss said BYU’s coaches have already brought up what events he might be running.
“They kinda were joking around about having me run the steeplechase, but I think they may have been only half joking,” Moss said. “I’m probably gonna be running the 1,500 and 5k and maybe the 10k.”
Moss will go to Provo having made history in eastern Idaho the last four years. He is a three-time state medalist in cross-country and five-time state medalist in track. He won Idaho’s 5A boys individual cross-country state title in 2017, becoming the first District 6 runner to accomplish that feat at the 5A level since Idaho Falls’ Adam Follett in 2003. He placed third at Nike Cross Northwest Regionals later that season to reach Nike Cross Nationals where he finished 17th. He was District 6’s first high school runner to reach a national championship cross-country meet since Bonneville’s Jed Barta competed at the 1998 Foot Locker Nationals. In 2018, Moss won the 5A boys 3,200-meter state title and again placed third at Nike Cross Northwest Regionals to reach his second consecutive Nike Cross Nationals, where he placed 11th. He has personal bests of 15:13.1 for a 5k in cross-country, 3:58.38 for the 1,500, 4:18.84 for the 1,600, 4:16.92 for the mile and 9:36.03 for the 3,200.
Moss is currently recovering from tendonitis inflammation around his Achilles tendon and intends to be ready for outdoor track. He was unable to finish the 5A state meet earlier this month and an ultrasound later revealed that he has a slight tear in his Achilles. Moss said he will be doing physical therapy and cross training and hopes to be able return to running within the next month and a half.
Moss said the opportunities he’s had thus far in high school have helped him become acclimated to competing with elite athletes and he is eager for more opportunities at BYU.
“You’re the local star around here but once you get to college, everyone’s a local star,” Moss said. “I’m definitely looking forward to pacing myself against all these guys and see how I do.”