1996 BYU Hall of Fame
Newspaper subscribers became familiar with the headline "Cougar Runners Dominate Meet" during the collegiate career of Jill Holiday Linford. Written underneath the headlines were articles that aften included a description of Jill's extraordinary running abilities.
Coming to BYU as a walk-on from Broomfield, Colorado, Jill proved to be a great asset to the team and after her freshman year was offered a full scholarship. The Cougars would receive staggering returns on their investment.
Holiday was a four-time All-American, winning honors in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. She received two of those All-America Awards in 1983: the first as a member of the Cougars' fourth-place two-mile relay team and the second for placing 22nd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships (17:16).
In 1984, with a time of 16:58.1, she placed 23rd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships to claim her third All-America award. Then in 1985 she finished fourth in the 3,000-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (9:17.67) for her fourth All-America recognition.
She was named All-HCAC five times during her years as a Cougar - four times in cross country and once for winning the 5,000-meters at the conference track championships.
Headlines that read "Holiday Finishes First" were nothing new to Jill when she came to BYU, but her impressive abilities continued to make news. She took first place in the NCAC/NCAA Region VII Cross Country Championships in both 1984 and 1985. She also placed first among BYU runners at cross country nationals in 1983, 1984, and 1985, leading the team to top 10 finishes all three years.
Named Academic All-HCAC, she was a Cougar Club Academic Athlete in 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1985. She also received the prestigious Leona B. Holbrook Spirit of Sport Ward, the highest annual award given to a BYU female athlete, during the 1985-86 school year.
Jill's impressive career is further defined by the indoor and outdoor records she still held more than 10 years after finishing her collegiate eligibility. She held the BYU record for the indoor two-mile (10:03.40); she also held the second best all-time marks in the 1,500-meters (4:25.57) and the 3,000-meters (9:18.72). Outdoors, Jill held the BYU record for the 5,000-meters (16:02.00) and has clocked one of the fastest outdoor 3,000-meter times in school history (9:17.67).
Jill's natural talent, her hard work, and her tough-minded, competitive attitude all contributed to her success - and to the many headlines that described her career at BYU.