Anna Camp-Bennett's national title paces BYU women's best finish at NCAA track and field meet in 16 years

BYU senior Anna Camp-Bennett finished first with a time of 4:08.53 to clinch her first national championship in the 1,500-meter final Saturday at the NCAA women's outdoor track and field championships at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, June 12, 2021. (Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)


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SALT LAKE CITY โ€” Anna Camp-Bennett already had the school record in the 1,500-meter run when she qualified for the finals of the event Thursday at historic Hayward Field.

There was only one thing left to do for the senior Millard High graduate with Saturday's final.

Camp-Bennett beat her own personal-best time by about a half-second, clocking a winning time of 4 minutes, 8.53 seconds Saturday to win the 1,500-meter national championship Saturday at the NCAA women's outdoor track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon.

The senior held off Colorado's Sage Hurta by .11 seconds to claim her first national title, and the fifth-year senior who also helped the women's cross country team to a national championship earlier in the spring used an incredible kick in the final 100 meters to claim her first individual title in fine fashion.

"I just try to sit in that top group and hope my speed can carry me through," Camp-Bennett told ESPN. "Luckily, the other girls were so fast and set good paces. There were a lot of girls that were really, really quick and I was hoping it would turn out, and it did."

Camp-Bennett's title helped the BYU women to a 10th-place finish at the national meet, the Cougars' best finish since 2005. Teammate Courtney Wayment added a fourth-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, coming in at 9:32.93 for All-American status.

USC won the team title with 74 points, holding off Texas A&M by 11. Georgia (37.5), Alabama (31) and North Carolina A&T (31) rounded out the top five in the women's meet.

"A top-10 finish for our women caps off a tremendous year for the women of BYU," BYU women's coach Diljeet Taylor said. "To say I am proud is an understatement. This year showcased years of faith, trust, hard work and passion."

Claire Seymour finished fourth in the 800-meter run, when the sophomore from Modesto, California finished about 1.5 seconds behind champion Michaele Meyer of Virginia in 2:01.91.

Whittni Orton added a top-20 finish in the 5,000-meter finals, coming in 16:05.33 for 18th overall.

BYU freshman Cierra Tidwell Allphin cleared 5-feet, 10-inches in the women's high jump final, good for 14th place overall.

BYU's Whittni Orton finished 18th in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA women's track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon.
BYU's Whittni Orton finished 18th in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA women's track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)

The Cougars were buoyed by a handful of performances Friday for their best finish in over 15 years, including Sara Musselman's career-best 9:55.61 to clinch All-America second-team honors int he steeplechase.

The 4-by-400-meter relay team of Meghan Hunter, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Alena Ellsworth and Seymour record a time of 3:37.05 for second-team All-America honors.

Utah's Poppy Tank clinched All-American status with a ninth-place finish in the 10,000 meter with a time of 32:50.57.

Lexie Thompson capped her Weber State career with second-team All-America honors in the 10,000 meters. The former American Fork distance standout finished with a time of 33:06.95 to become the first Wildcat to earn All-America honors in the event in program history.

Summer Allen added a historic finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, setting Weber State and Big Sky records in Friday's semifinals with a time of 9:37.48. The Orem High product and cross country All-American finished eighth with a time of 9:40.37.

Men's track and field championships

Paced by national runner-up Conner Mantz in the 10,000-meter run, BYU men's track and field team posted its second consecutive top-25 finish in the men's track and field meet, which concluded Friday at Hayward Field with the Cougars in 17th place.

Mantz clocked a time of 27:42.46 in Thursday's final to finish second to Tulsa's Patrick Dever. The Sky View High product and reigning cross country individual champion led the pack into the final lap, but fell shy of Dever down the stretch in a final heat of one of the fastest races in NCAA championship history.

Ten runners finished with a time better than 28:01.30, the previous meet record at Hayward Field.

"Conner was fine," BYU head coach Ed Eyestone told the Deseret News. "It was a very fast race. Extremely fast. I thought he had a good race. Looking back, there were no mistakes we would change. He was confident in his kick, and he had the green light to follow his gut (instinct)."

Fresh off a second-place finish at the NCAA indoor championships three months ago, Zach McWhorter added a ninth-place finish for BYU in the high jump with a mark of 19 feet, 3/4 inches. Cameron Bates added a seventh-place finish in the javelin with a throw of 243-7.

Garrett Marsing placed fourth nationally and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in the men's steeplechase with a career-best time of 8:31.54 at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, Friday, June 12, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon.
Garrett Marsing placed fourth nationally and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in the men's steeplechase with a career-best time of 8:31.54 at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, Friday, June 12, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo: Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)

Garrett Marsing added a fourth-place finish in the men's steeplechase with a career-best time of 8:31.54, the third-fastest steeplechase in program history and good enough for All-America honors and a spot in next week's U.S. Olympic trials.

Michael Bluth became the first BYU sprinter to make the 400-meter final in a national meet since 1964, finishing eighth with a time of 45.91 seconds.

Talem Franco added a ninth-place finish in the 1,500-meter final with a time of 3:40.61, and Dallin Shurts was 15th in the discus with a throw of 178 feet, 9 inches.

Casey Clinger added a 13:34.56 in the 5,000-meter men's final, good for 16th overall and All-America second-team honors in one of the fastest championship finals in the event in meet history.

Dallin Vorkink finished 17th in the decathlon with 6,388 points, good for All-America honorable mention status. That includes a 15.71 in the 110-meter hurdles, a 38.22-meter throw in the discus, and a 4:26.83 in the 1,500-meter, along with no height in the pole vault.

"We did very well in some events, and we came up short in a couple of events," Eyestone said. "By and large, I was very impressed by the level of competition and the way our guys rose up and competed the best they could. I'm very proud of our guys."

LSU cruised to the team title with an 84-53 victory over second-place Oregon. North Carolina A&T (35), Florida (34.5) and USC (33) each finished in the top five.

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