BYU women’s cross country wins national title
STILLWATER, Okla. – The BYU women’s cross country team won the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships, its fifth national title in program history, with a team score of 96 points at the OSU Cross Country Course in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
“I’m just extremely proud and humbled to be their coach,” said associate director of cross country/track and field Diljeet Taylor said. “They’re running for something bigger than themselves. When you can get women that step on the line empowered, strong and really feeling in their hearts they can win, that’s when you see magic happen. That’s what we witnessed today.”
Five Cougars finished in the top 50 to lead the BYU women’s cross country team to its first national championship since 2003 and its fifth team title overall (1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2021). Four Cougars finished in the top 40 and received All-America honors for their performances, the most All-Americans on one BYU team since 2003.
Senior Anna Camp-Bennett moved up four spots in the final kilometer of the 6K to cross first for the Cougars and take 11th place (20:28.3). Junior Aubrey Frentheway (20:34.9) and senior Whittni Orton (20:35.6) finished 15th and 17th overall, respectively, to give the Cougars three of the top 20 finishers.
Senior Sara Musselman (20:51.3) placed 33rd overall while junior McKenna Lee (20:59.9) finished 41st, one spot away from All-America status. Junior Haley Johnston (21:38.0) placed 115th and true freshman Lexy Halladay (22:14.6) finished 184th overall to round out the seven BYU runners.
“Last night, I felt really good at the end of our team meeting,” Taylor said. “It felt like something good was going to happen. I told them to be gold diggers and you saw them dig really deep today.”
BYU’s depth proved dominant with the second-place team's score being more than 60 points behind the Cougars. Under coach Taylor, the women’s team has finished in the top 10 four of her five years, including a second-place finish last year. Taylor’s teams have never finished below 11th place at the championship meet.