History of Excellence

Since joining the NCAA in 1980, the BYU women’s track and field team has established a legacy as one of the best and most consistent programs in the country. Former head coach Craig Poole, a future USTFCCCA Hall of Fame Inductee, took over the program in 1980 started a winning tradition. In 2010, Poole announced his retirement and handed the reigns to long time cross country head coach Patrick Shane. In his first year at the helm, Shane built on the foundation laid by Poole and led BYU to a sweep on the Mountain West Conference championships.

BYU first joined a conference in women’s track and field in the 1983 season. The Cougars competed in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) for eight seasons in only outdoor competition before joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in both indoor and outdoor track in 1991. During the team’s eight years in the HCAC, the Cougars never lost a conference meet. BYU also qualified for the NCAA Championships in all eight seasons and finished sixth in the nation in 1987 and ninth in 1989.

After joining the WAC in time for the 1991 season, the Cougars continued their undefeated streak in outdoor conference championships. BYU was a member of the WAC from 1991-1999 and won all nine outdoor WAC titles during that timespan. The Cougars also competed in an indoor conference championship for the first time after joining the WAC and won eight of the nine indoor conference meets in which they competed. The excellence in conference carried over to excellence on a national stage, as the Cougars finished in the top ten in the NCAA five times while in the WAC. The lowest final ranking for BYU during that timespan came in 1991 during indoor season, when the team finished 34th in their second ever indoor season in a conference.

Following the 1999 season, the Cougars again changed conferences and the women’s track team continued to flourish under Poole’s guidance. BYU competed in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) for the first time in the 2000 season and started what would become a decade of dominance. BYU swept the MWC titles in 2000 while finishing sixth in the NCAA during indoor season and fourth during outdoor season. The Cougars would go on to win 20 out of 24 MWC titles from 2000-11. BYU finished outside the top-20 nationally just seven total times during their time in the MWC and finished a program best third during the 2009 indoor season.

BYU now takes its legacy of success to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) for the 2012 indoor season. The Cougars will face off against powerhouse teams like Oregon and Arizona in the MPSF and will compete as an independent during the outdoor season. If the past 31 seasons are any indication, BYU will be a force on the conference and national level despite the change in conference affiliation. 

Indoor Conference Championships 18
Outdoor Conference Championships 27
NCAA Top-10 Finishes 18
NCAA Top-20 Finishes 39
National Champions 20
All-Americans 93
All-American Citations 214
Olympians  18