BYU men finish runner-up in USTFCCCA Program of the Year standings
NEW ORLEANS – The BYU men's program finished runner-up for U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s NCAA Division I John McDonnell Men’s Program of the Year. The honor is earned annually by the institution with the highest combined national finish during the cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
The Cougars totaled 40.5 points and finished only 0.5 points behind Arkansas (40 points) in the final standings after capturing top-20 finishes in all three championship meets. Scoring is based on the team’s finish at each NCAA Championship in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field (i.e. 1st = 1 point, 2nd = 2 points … 31st = 31 points) with the lowest total score for all three championships combined determining the award winner. Ties among schools split points for positions taken.
The men’s cross country team placed 7th overall while the Cougars tied for 16th at the indoor track and field championships and placed 17th at the recently completed outdoor track and field championships. In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NCAA Championships.
“The men just got nipped by Arkansas, or we would have won on both the men’s and women’s sides,” said BYU head cross country coach and director of track and field Ed Eyestone. “The fact we sacrificed some points at the indoor meet by focusing on cross country could have cost us program of the year on the men’s side. However, I’m very pleased by the efforts of our athletes to finish in a close battle with Arkansas. All in all, it was a great year with great perseverance through the pandemic.”
This marks the second year in a row that the BYU men’s program finished as the runner-up in the standings. Since the award’s creation following the 2008-09 seasons, the Cougars have finished in the top 15 seven times, including six times in the top 10.
The BYU men’s cross country team secured its fifth consecutive top-10 finish at the national meet. Conner Mantz won the 2020 NCAA individual title to lead the Cougars. Mantz and Casey Clinger, who placed 13th, both received All-America honors.
“Just like on the women’s side, I think it is a testament to the hard work of all of our event groups,” Eyestone said. “For the first time ever at the outdoor national meet, we had athletes competing that represented all of the event group categories.”
At the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, Zach McWhorter finished as the national runner-up in the men’s pole vault with a school record-breaking clearance of 5.80m/19-0.25. Caleb Witsken took sixth in the pole vault as the only other scorer at the championship meet.
The Cougars added another national runner-up when Mantz took second at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000m. Other point scorers included Garrett Marsing (4th, 3000m Steeplechase), Cameron Bates (7th, Javelin) and Michael Bluth (8th, 800m).
Complete USTFCCCA Program of the Year final standings can be found on ustfccca.org.