Women’s DMR team wins national title with record-breaking performance


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The BYU track and field women’s distance medley relay team won the program’s first national title in the event and broke the school record with a time of 10:52.96 at the 2021 NCAA DI Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday.

“I am extremely proud of how all four women battled for this title,” said BYU associate director of track and field/cross country Diljeet Taylor. “The confidence displayed, the trust in each other, and the dominating fashion they won in is a testament to the years of hard work, faith and dedication. It was a great day for the women of BYU.”

Senior Olivia Hoj Simister opened the race with a 3:21.92 split in the 1200m leg. Senior Alena Ellsworth clocked a 52.41 split in the 400m leg and senior Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes ran a 2:05.74 in the 800m leg. Senior Courtney Wayment anchored the squad with a 4:32.90 split in the 1600m leg to clinch the championship by more than four seconds.

The DMR squad’s winning time of 10:52.96 is the sixth-fastest time in NCAA history and almost one full second faster than the previous school record of 10:53.95 set last year. Both Ellsworth and Ellsworth-Barnes ran on the relay team with All-Americans Whittni Orton and Anna Camp-Bennett. The 2020 squad was one of the top DMR teams in the country but missed out on the opportunity to compete for a national title after the championship meet was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on their performance, Ellsworth, Ellsworth-Barnes, Hoj Simister and Wayment were named to the All-America First Team.

The Cougars also had four athletes advance to their respective finals on the second day of competition.

Claire Seymour left no doubt that she’d advance to the women’s 800m final as she won her heat in 2:03.97. With only eight athletes advancing, the junior is guaranteed a scoring position in Saturday’s final.

Men’s miler Lucas Bons snuck his way into the final after edging out another runner at the finish line in the semifinal. The freshman finished the tactical race in 4:06.19, clinching his qualifying spot by one-hundredth of a second.

In the women’s mile, junior Heather Hanson and senior Kate Hunter both advanced to Saturday’s final. The pair finished 3-4 in their heat to claim the last two automatic qualifying spots. Hanson finished the race in 4:41.74 and Hunter crossed in 4:41.78.

True freshman Simone Plourde ran in the second heat of the women’s mile and fell short of advancing to the final. Plourde completed the race in 4:45.99 to finish 15th overall and receive All-America Second Team honors.

BYU will have eight athletes competing on the final day of the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships. The meet schedule and entries can be found in the championship preview. The meet will continue to be streamed on ESPN3 and the ESPN App.

Day One Recap

Meet Information

Thursday, March 11

AthleteEventResult / Place
Halley Folsom WalkerPentathlon3,899 points / 14th Place

Friday, March 12

AthleteEventResult / Place
Lucas BonsMen's Mile [Semifinal]4:06.19 / Advanced To Final
Heather HansonWomen's Mile [Semifinal]4:41.74 / Advanced To Final
Kate HunterWomen's Mile [Semifinal]4:41.78 / Advanced To Final
Simone PlourdeWomen's Mile [Semifinal]4:45.99 / 15th Place
Claire SeymourWomen's 800m [Semifinal]2:03.97 / Advanced To Final
Alena Ellsworth
Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes
Olivia Hoj Simister
Courtney Wayment
Women's DMR10:52.96 / 1st Place

Saturday, March 13

12:30 p.m. (CST)

Zach McWhorter
Caleb Witsken

Men's Pole Vault [Final]
2 p.m.Lucas BonsMen's Mile [Final]
6 p.m.

Heather Hanson
Kate Hunter

Women's Mile [Final]
6:40 p.m.Claire SeymourWomen's 800m [Final]
7 p.m.

Olivia Hoj Simister
Courtney Wayment

Women's 3000m [Final]