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BYU Senior Jared Ward helps kick off the Cougars' cross country track season

BYU kicks off the cross country season with the help of senior Jared Ward, who has finally been reinstated.

BYU cross country runner Jared Ward
BYU cross country runner Jared Ward
BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

BYU Men's distance runner Jared Ward almost didn't get a senior season. Ward participated in a recreational fun-run prior to beginning his track career with the Cougars, and the NCAA decided that it qualified as an organized competition, giving Ward a competitive advantage. They subsequently charged him with a full year of collegiate competition.

Ward appealed the decision several times throughout his first three seasons at BYU with no success. During those three years Ward was named an All-American, All-Academic track star, winning honors such as two-time West Coast Conference Runner-of-the-Month, member of the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll, WCC Individual Champion and WCC Runner-of-the-Year with an 8K time of 23;42.

Ward finished his junior season as BYU's top finisher at the NCAA Championship, and the sixth best non-senior runner in the nation.

So you can imagine his disappointment when his senior season began, and he had to sit it out. Ward continued with the appeals, and the NCAA reversed their decision on November 14, 2013, deeming Ward immediately eligible for competition.

According to Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune, Ward stated, "The University and my coaches and teammates have been behind this all the way, and been so supportive. I don't feel like I have missed out on anything. I only feel like I just recently have gotten something back."

Today the Cougars are participating in day two of the Washington Invitational, where Ward and his cross country teammates have begun the long-distance season for BYU. Live results of today's events can be viewed here.