COLLEGE STATION -- True freshman Lacey Cramer secured BYU’s second national championship in as many days with her first-place finish in the 800-meter race at the NCAA Indoor Championship in College Station, Texas on Saturday.
Cramer and junior Amy Menlove, who won the pentathalon national championship on Friday, became the first duo to claim two national titles for BYU at a single meet. Their wins secured a No. 3 final national ranking for the Cougars, a notable move up from last week’s No. 19 ranking.
“It was an incredible meet,” said BYU women’s head track and field coach Craig Poole. “This is great for our program. I couldn’t be happier for our athletes. They were so impressive all weekend long.”
With 33 meet points the 2009 women’s track team solidified itself as the best indoor team in school history. Its No. 3 final ranking marks the highest ever achieved by a BYU team, with the previous program high of No. 4 coming in 1970 and 1981.
Cramer’s 800-meter run also marks the school’s first national championship in that event. Her time of 2:04.27 was good enough to upset the nations top-seed Phoebe Wright of Tennessee, last year’s champion LaTiva Thomas of LSU and the 2006 champion Heather Dorniden of Minnesota.
“It was probably the most exciting race of the meet,” said BYU distance coach Patrick Shane.
Cramer, who sat in fourth heading into the final turn, took advantage of a gap on the inside lane and made a final push for the finish line. Cramer used all of her 5-7 frame to edge out Wright, who finished .11 seconds behind the Cedar Hills, Utah native.
“There was plenty of contact throughout the race and Lacey just stayed patient and smart,” Shane said. “National champions are incredibly rare and freshmen national champions are almost unheard of. Her performance yesterday and her title run today were phenomenal.”
Cramer set the 800-meter school and Mountain West Conference record on Friday and capped off her weekend with a national championship that earned BYU 10 meet points. Cramer is the first Cougar to win a national championship as a freshman.
“It was crazy,” Cramer said. “I wasn’t expecting to win it, but the first lane opened up in the last 100-meters and I went for it. It was an incredible race.”
Also earning All-America honors on Saturday was sophomore standout Katie Palmer, who finished fourth in the 800-meter event. Palmer’s time of 2:04.75 secured the Cougars five points. Palmer also finished ahead of last year’s champion Thomas, who took fifth in a time of 2:04.89.
“Katie ran her heart out and I’m incredibly proud of her,” Shane said. “What is really great is all of these athletes will be back next year. I think BYU can really make a statement in the next two years.”
The Cougars return home to begin preparation for the outdoor season. Its first meet will be the ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. on March 20.
CLICK HERE for day one recap.
Women's Team Scores
1. Tennessee 42.00 SEC
2. Texas A&M 37.00 Big 12
3. BYU 33.00 Mountain West
4. Texas 31.00 Big 12
5. Arizona State 30.00 Pac-10
6. LSU 28.00 SEC
7. Penn State 24.00 Big Ten
8. Florida State 23.00 ACC
9. Texas Tech 21.00 Big 12
9. Oregon 21.00 Pac-10
11. Michigan 19.00 Big Ten
12. Minnesota 14.00 Big Ten
12. Florida 14.00 SEC
12. Stanford 14.00 Pac-10
12. Miami (Fla.) 14.00 ACC
12. North Carolina 14.00 ACC
12. South Carolina 14.00 SEC
18. Arizona 13.00 Pac-10
19. Boise State 12.00 WAC
20. Cornell 11.00 Ivy
20. Arkansas 11.00 SEC
22. TCU 10.00 Mountain West
22. Indiana State 10.00 Mo. Valley
22. Colorado 10.00 Big 12
22. Hampton 10.00 Mid-Eastern
22. Louisville 10.00 BIG EAST
27. Iowa 9.00 Big Ten
27. Illinois 9.00 Big Ten
29. Nebraska 8.50 Big 12
30. Villanova 8.00 BIG EAST
30. Western Kentucky 8.00 Sun Belt
30. Middle Tennessee ST. 8.00 Sun Belt
30. Akron 8.00 Mid-American