(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU Women’s Track and Field team returned to prominence with a record-breaking 2009 season that included eight All-Americans, two National Champions, and 15 MWC champions. A well-balanced squad helped the Cougars reclaim indoor and outdoor conference titles after falling short in 2008.
The indoor season proved to be among the best sports seasons in BYU history. The team had several great performances at the MWC Indoor Championships, including nine first-place finishes.
Among the top performers was freshman standout Lacey Cramer, who became the MWC Indoor Champion in the 800-meter and took third in the 1500-meter race. Amy Menlove made her presence known by winning both the pentathlon and 60-meter hurdles, to go along with a second-place long jump finish.
Other indoor conference champions included freshman Diana Blauer in the high jump, Angela Wagner in both the 1-mile and 3000-meter, junior Cecily Lemmon in the 5000-meter, freshman Kelli Ehart in the pole vault, and the distance medley team of Emily Dunn, Rachel Lange, Nachelle Stewart and Anna Sperry.
Eight members of the conference-champion Cougars moved on to the NCAA Indoor National Championships, and made BYU history.
Cramer became the first BYU freshman to win a National Championship when she set a BYU record in the 800-meter (2:03.91). Menlove set a BYU pentathlon record on her way to a National Championship of her own (4,365 points). Menlove also received All-America status for placing seventh in the long jump.
The distance medley team of Katie Palmer, Nachelle Stewart, Cramer and Angela Wagner also set a BYU record at Nationals, and placed third in the event (10:56.73). Palmer also contributed individually, with a fourth-placed 800-meter finish.
By the end of the meet, the 19th-ranked BYU women’s team had surprised everyone, placing third overall. It is the highest finish ever for a BYU Track and Field team at a National Championship meet.
Following a great indoor season with a great outdoor season is a tough task, but Craig Poole’s team met the challenge. The team scored 190 points at conference, with six first-place finishes leading the way.
Cramer repeated as 800-meter champion, and placed second in the 1500-meter behind champion Palmer. Menlove followed her pentathlon championship with an outdoor heptathlon victory, and placed third in the long jump.
Lemmon grabbed two conference titles, winning both the 5000-meter and 10000-meter. The most surprising victory came in the 4x400-meter relay, when the team of Cramer, Palmer, Nachelle Stewart and Natalie Stewart set a BYU record and came away with a win (3:36.56).
Eight Cougars advanced to the Outdoor National Championships, and three came away with All-America honors.
Lemmon was the top BYU finisher, placing second in the 10000-meter. Cramer followed her indoor championship with a fourth-place outdoor 800-meter finish. Wrapping up the BYU All-Americans was freshman Ada Robinson, who came away with a fifth-place finish in the high jump. The contributions of the three All-Americans allowed BYU to finish 15th in the nation to conclude the outdoor season.
All eight All-Americans return to the Cougars for 2010, including both National Champions, making it one of the top programs in the nation.