A Decade of Dominance

Since joining the Mountain West Conference in 1999, the BYU women’s track and field team has enjoyed an unprecedented amount of success. The Cougars took 20 of 24 possible MWC team titles, featured numerous All-Americans and ended their MWC run with eight individual National Champions.

In terms of overall success, conference championships are what count most. BYU began their reign in the MWC in the year 2000 with team victories during the indoor and outdoor seasons. Led by head coach Craig Poole, the Cougars set a precedent for the future of MWC track and field.

After sweeping the MWC indoor and outdoor titles in 2000, Poole went on to lead the BYU women to MWC sweeps in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The Cougars also took home the indoor crown in 2003 and the outdoor victory in 2006. BYU also swept the MWC titles in 2011 under first year head coach Patrick Shane.

While winning conference titles in the MWC, the Cougars were also making a splash on the national stage like never before. Between 2000 and 2011, BYU finished in the top 20 at the indoor National Championships nine times and at the outdoor National Championships eight times.

BYU also managed to set a large number of school and MWC records during the last 11 years and earned more MWC track and field awards than any other program in the conference. Several individual athletes have represented BYU on the national stage and several others have brought the program some of its greatest moments. The following is a compilation of the records and awards earned by BYU track and field athletes while competing in the MWC, along with some memorable moments from the final three years (2009-11) of MWC competition. 

MWC Records Held by BYU Athletes

Event  Name Time                                                  Date
INDOOR      
800 Meters Katie Palmer 2:04.02 February 25, 2011
Mile Heidi Magill 4:40.13 March 5, 2005
3000 Meters Michaela Mannova 9:04.06 January 30, 2004
5000 Meters Laura Turner 16:04.89 February 14, 2004
60 Meter Hurdles Kirsten Bolm 8.13 February 12, 2000
Distance Medley Relay Lacey Cramer, Katie Palmer, Natalie Stewart, Angela Wagner 10:56.73 March 14, 2009
High Jump Ada Robinson 1.86m (6-1.25) February 12, 2011
Long Jump Mindy McClurkin 6.69m (21-11.50) March 12, 2010
Pentathlon  Amy Menlove 4365 Points  March 14, 2009
OUTDOOR      
800 Meters Lacey Cramer 2:03.01 April 18, 2009
1500 Meters Sharolyn Shields 4:06.22 2001
5000 Meters Whitney McDonald 15:44.55 April 13, 2007
10000 Meters Whitney McDonald 33:06.23 March 30, 2007
100 Meter Hurdles Kirsten Bolm 13.02 May 20, 2000
3000 Meter Steeplechase Kathryn Anderson 9:44.68 May 29, 2004
High Jump Ada Robinson 1.86m (6-1.25)  May 13, 2011
Long Jump Mindy McClurkin 6.63m (21-9.00) May 15, 2010
Triple Jump Kamila Rywelska 13.62m (44-8.25)  June 11, 2005

MWC Awards Earned by BYU Athletes

Year - Name  Award

                          Indoor/Outdoor                                                  

2000    
Kirsten Bolm Outstanding Performance Indoor
Anna-Lee Walcott Freshman of the Year Indoor/Outdoor
Craig Poole Coach of the Year  Indoor/Outdoor
Kirsten Bolm High Point Award Outdoor 
2001    
Maret Kamerova Freshman of the Year Indoor/Outdoor
Elizabeth Jackson Outstanding Performance Outdoor
2002    
Nikki Hughes Outstanding Performance Outdoor
Nikki Hughes High Point Award Outdoor
Craig Poole Coach of the Year Outdoor 
2003    
Craig Poole Coach of the Year Indoor
2004    
Amy Menlove Freshman of the Year Indoor
Michaela Mannova High Point Award Indoor
Craig Poole Coach of the Year Outdoor
2005    
Amy Menlove  High Point Award Indoor
Heidi Magill  Freshman of the Year Indoor/Outdoor
2006    
Mindy McClurkin Freshman of the Year Indoor
2007    
Craig Poole Coach of the Year Indoor/Outdoor
Whitney McDonald Outstanding Performance Outdoor
2009    
Amy Menlove Student-Athlete of the Year Indoor
Amy Menlove High Point Award Indoor
Craig Poole Coach of the Year Indoor/Outdoor
2010    
Craig Poole Coach of the Year Indoor/Outdoor
Mindy McClurkin Student-Athlete of the Year Outdoor
Mindy McClurkin High Point Award Outdoor 
2011    
Lacey Cramer Bleazard Student-Athlete of the Year Indoor
Patrick Shane Coach of the Year Indoor/Outdoor 

Best BYU Track and Field Moments (2009-11) 

2009: Nachelle Stewart, Lacey Cramer, Katie Palmer, Angela Wagner destroy the school record in the Distance Medley Relay at the 2009 National Championships

The team of Nachelle Stewart, Cramer, Palmer and Angela Wagner combined for a time of 10:56.73, placing them third in the event and shattering the previous school and conference record set by BYU this season.

“It was one of the best races I’ve seen,” Shane said. “Any other year this team would have been National Champions. I’m really proud of them and the way they competed.”

It took a world record and the world’s second-fastest time ever to beat BYU’s stacked team. Tennessee won the event, breaking the world record by over four seconds. North Carolina trailed Tennessee with a time of 10:56.19, edging BYU by .54 seconds.

“It took world records to beat us,” Shane said. “What’s really great is this DMR team consists of two freshman and two sophomores.”

2009: Amy Menlove’s Pentathlon National Championship

BYU All-American Amy Menlove won the women’s pentathlon, propelling BYU into first place at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas on Friday.

The No. 19 Cougars currently are in first place with 18 points and hold a five-point lead over Oregon, Texas A&M and Penn State heading into the final day of competition.

“It was an incredible day,” said BYU women’s head coach Craig Poole. “We competed at a top level in every event. Amy [Menlove] and the DMR team did exactly what they needed to do.”

Menlove, one of the most decorated track athletes in BYU history, became the fourth Cougar to win an Indoor National Championship. Her point total in the pentathlon (4,365) on Friday is a school record, a Mountain West Conference record and a 2009 NCAA season-best mark.

“It was really exciting,” Menlove said. “I love this meet and the competition it brings. This has been a goal of mine for a long time and I’m really happy I was able to accomplish it.”

2009: Lacey Cramer’s 800-Meter National Championship

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’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.

2010: Mindy McClurkin’s High Point Performance at the MWC Championships

Fatima Makakala, Porshe Giddings, Amy Otis and McClurkin set the tone for the Cougars in the first event of day four, the 4x100m relay. The foursome set a BYU record of 44.76 on the way to the first 4x100m title for BYU since entering the MWC in 1999.

McClurkin anchored that relay, and the Cougars sat in third when she received the baton. She was able to overcome that deficit, narrowly passing the UNLV team at the finish line. McClurkin’s day was far from over after the relay, as the 100m and 200m still to come.

In her individual events, McClurkin continued her reign of dominance, winning the 100m in 11.66 and the 200m in a BYU-record 23.32. McClurkin scored a total of 32.5 points at the meet, and was named the MWC Athlete of the Meet and received the High Point award.

“This is the best way possible to finish my MWC career,” McClurkin said. “To win four events, it is unbelievable. And to bring home a team title at the same time, it is the icing on the cake.”

2010: Mindy McClurkin’s Performance at the New Balance Invitational

BYU senior Mindy McClurkin has been recognized as a Mountain West Conference indoor track and field athlete of the week following her outstanding performance at the New Balance Invitational in New York City.

McClurkin competed in four events at the Invitational, winning two and placing near the top in the others. In the long jump, she automatically qualified for nationals with a season-best leap of 6.44-meters to win the event.

Her other first place finish came in the 4x200-meter relay, in which she participated as the anchor leg and overcame a 15-meter lead held by Tennessee when she got the baton, leading BYU to a close win in 1:38.64.

“Everything just came together at this meet,” McClurkin said. “All the training and hard work is really paying off at this point. I just want to keep this going through indoor nationals, so I can finish this part of the season with a bang.”

2011: Team Victory at the New Balance Invitational

In one of the best team performances in team history, the BYU women’s track and field team took first place at the prestigious New Balance Invitational with 90.5 points.

“We are thrilled that we can represent BYU back in the east against some of the top schools in the country,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “This is a meet that favors a team with depth and balance and we are really excited to come out on top.”

2011: Final MWC Team Championship

With a dominant final day the BYU women’s track and field team clinched their third consecutive Mountain West Conference outdoor championship with 191 team points.

"We just had a great final day today," head coach Patrick Shane said. "All of the athletes really performed well and we even had a few personal best performances. It means a lot to win this in our last year in the Mountain West.

The win marks the 10th MWC outdoor championship for the women’s team in 12 tries. New Mexico came in second to the Cougars with 128 points and TCU finished third with 98 points.

First year head coach Patrick Shane was named MWC Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year. Shane also won the 2011 MWC Indoor Coach of the Year award.

2011: Lacey Cramer Bleazard’s 800-Meter National Championship

On the second and final day of the NCAA Indoor National Championships, BYU junior Lacey Bleazard won the second 800-meter National title of her career, finishing the race in 2:04.09 to take home the victory.

"It was our plan to have her go out fast and take the lead early," head coach Patrick Shane said. "A couple runners tried to pass her on the final lap but she held them off and had a great finish. I could not be more proud of her. She ran the race perfect."

Bleazard led for most of the race, taking the early lead during the second of four laps. During the final 60 meters Michigan’s Jillian Smith made a push for the lead, but Bleazard had the better finishing speed and won by a wide margin, .69 seconds.

2011: Morgan Haws 10,000-Meter Race at the National Championships

With 50 meters remaining, the eighth place runner passed Haws on the track. With her hopes of becoming an All-American drifting away, Haws determination did not falter. At some point in the last 50 meters, she realized she could no longer stand. She collapsed a final time within 10 meters of the finish line, within feet of finishing a race that seemed much longer than 10,000 meters.

That’s when she started to crawl. On hands and knees, working just to keep herself moving slowly along the track, Haws crawled toward the finish. Just minutes after collapsing at the beginning of the straightaway, Haws lifted herself one final time, just enough to get her torso over the finish line, and fell hard to the ground.

“It was the most inspiring performance I have ever witnessed from one of my athletes,” Shane said. “I have never been so proud. As soon as she crossed that finish line, I raced over to her as fast as possible.”