BYU women named USTFCCCA Program of the Year
NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association named the BYU women the NCAA Division I Terry Crawford Women’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.
“I’m extremely proud of the women who came back from the COVID year determined to give their best,” said BYU associate head cross country coach and associate director of track and field Diljeet Taylor. “This is a direct reflection on the commitment they made to the program. Our depth and strength showed in all three seasons. It’s an honor to be recognized as program of the year but even more of an honor to have coached these women in all three seasons. I am grateful for the support we received from administration, it allowed us to achieve this recognition.”
The Cougars were the only team in the nation to finish in the top 10 at each of the NCAA Championships this past year. The women’s cross country team won the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championships with 96 points, the program’s first national title since 2002. The women’s track and field team totaled 29 points at the indoor track and field championships to finish seventh overall and tallied 20 points to finish 10th at the recently completed outdoor track and field championships.
Receiving the prestigious recognition for the first time in program history, BYU joins Oregon and Stanford as the only women’s programs to be named the NCAA Division I Program of the Year since the award’s creation following the 2008 season. The Cougars have finished top 15 in the program of the year standings seven times over the last 12 years, including five times in the top 10.
In order to be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for each of the NCAA Championships. 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.
The BYU women totaled 18 points to top the final standings, finishing ahead of Arkansas (26) and Alabama (29.5).
“Our women’s team did a wonderful job of bringing it strong at the national meets,” said director of track and field and head cross country coach Ed Eyestone. “I was pleased with the fact that we got great production and improvement in all our women’s events. Coach Taylor did a phenomenal job getting our distance group to score big points at the three national championships.”
The Cougars won the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Championship convincingly, scoring 55 fewer points than the second place team. Anna Camp-Bennett, Aubrey Frentheway, Whittni Orton and Sara Musselman all finished in the top 40 to earn All-America honors and lead BYU to its fifth NCAA title in women’s cross country. Following the championship performance, the USTFCCCA named Taylor the National Women’s Coach of the Year.
At the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Cougars won national titles in the distance medley relay and in the 3000m on their way to placing seventh in the final standings. The DMR team, consisting of Olivia Hoj Simister, Alena Ellsworth, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes and Courtney Wayment, ran a school record-breaking 10:52.96 to win the event. Wayment doubled in the 3000m and became the first Cougar to win the event at the national meet. Other point scorers included Claire Seymour (5th, 800m), Kate Hunter (6th, Mile) and Hoj Simister (7th, 3000m).
BYU added another national champion to its 2020-21 campaign when Camp-Bennett won the 1500m at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships while breaking her own school record with a time of 4:08.53. Other point scorers at the national meet included Wayment (4th, 3000m steeplechase) and Seymour (4th, 800m).
The complete USTFCCCA Program of the Year final standings can be found on ustfccca.org.