For the first time since 2003 and only the fifth time in program history, the BYU women’s cross country team claimed the NCAA Cross Country Championship. The Cougars put up a team score of 96 points at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Okla., on Monday.
Five Cougars finished in the top 50 to lead BYU to the title. Four of those finished in the top 40 and received All-America honors for their performances — the most All-Americans on one BYU team since 2003.
Senior Anna Camp-Bennet was the first Cougar to cross the finish line, coming in 11th place (20:28.3). Junior Aubrey Frentheway (20:34.9) and senior Whittni Orton (20:35.6) came in 15th and 17th place overall, respectively, for three top 20 finishes.
“I’m extremely proud and humbled to be their coach,” associate director of cross country/track and field Dijeet Taylor said in a news release. “They’re running for something bigger than themselves. When you can get women that step on the line empowered, strong and really feeling in their hearts they can win, that’s when you see magic happen. That’s what we witnessed today.”
Although the men’s team finished in seventh overall, Conner Mantz claimed an individual title.
The All-American finished the men’s 10K with a time of 29:26.1 — nearly 22 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. Mantz joins Josh Rohatinsky (2006) and BYU coach Ed Eyestone (1984) as the only BYU men’s cross country runners to win an individual national title.
“I was happy to hold on and win an individual title for my team,” Mantz said in a news release. “My teammates work so hard and we weren’t able to have our best day as a team, but a win for one of us is a win for all of us. I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates for giving it their all today.”