BYU track stars crush basketball mile world record

BYU track and cross country All-Americans Whittni Orton and Anna Camp-Bennett broke the world record on Sept. 4 for running the fastest mile while dribbling a basketball.

Orton crushed the previous record, finishing in just 4:58:46 which converted to 4:52:71 with an altitude adjustment. The previous world record of 5:08:57 was set earlier this year by Foot Locker Nationals champion, Sydney Masciarelli. Camp-Bennett also beat the record with the time of 5:10:37 which converts to 5:04:28 at Provo’s altitude.

“This was a lot more stressful than a regular race, cause it’s not just simply running,” Orton said. “You could kick the ball at any moment.”

Because of the global pandemic, the 2020 fall championship for cross country was tentatively postponed to the spring by the NCAA. In the meantime, BYU women’s cross country coach Diljeet Taylor put together competitions like the basketball mile to keep her athletes focused on their 2021 aspirations.

The BYU women’s cross country team came in second at the national championship last fall and looks forward to the opportunity to take the next step when NCAA competition resumes.

“Our dreams haven’t been canceled, they’ve just been postponed,” Taylor said. “I’m really trying to put together some fun opportunities to keep them excited and have things to look forward to.”

The idea to challenge the record came when Taylor saw that the basketball mile record was beaten over the summer. Orton and Camp-Bennett were not only both basketball players in high school, but best friends since coming to BYU, so Taylor texted them to see if they were interested.

“I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it. That looks kind of fun,’” Orton said. “We thought it would be more fun together than just one of us doing it.”

Orton and Camp-Bennett only did a few exercises with a basketball during practice to prepare and the dribbling aspect proved to be a bigger challenge than they originally anticipated.

“It’s so weird because your posture is different,” Orton said. “In running, you want to be straight up, and in basketball, you want to be bent over a little bit and in a stance. So it felt so awkward.”

With their BYU teammates watching from the sideline, both athletes began the race and stuck with each other for the first two laps. Orton took off around the 800-meter mark and finished comfortably under the previous world record time, with Camp-Bennett finishing soon after.

“I knew I was fit enough and fast enough,” Orton said. “I felt confident that if I didn’t mess up with the dribbling that I would get it.”

Orton and the rest of the women’s track and cross country team now look forward to the rest of their coach’s events. Among the activities scheduled by Coach Taylor are the “COVID classic 5k,” the “corona mile” and the “Taylor Twilight meet.”

“I made an entire fall schedule. It’s kind of like our COVID season schedule,” Taylor said. “I want to give them something they can be proud of this fall.”

Orton and Camp-Bennett will both continue running for BYU in 2021, now with a world record under their belts and a national championship in their sights.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Top Sports Stories

Baylor sinks BYU football 38-24 in ‘Sailor Game’

In a prologue to upcoming Big 12 membership, BYU football suffered its second consecutive loss in a 38-24 affair with future conference foe Baylor in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

BYU football looks to bounce back against Baylor in future Big 12 preview

Next up for the Cougars is a road trip down south to face Baylor, another 5-1 squad widely considered one of the most underrated teams in the country and quite possibly BYU's toughest opponent all season.

‘Come, Come, Ye Saints,’ to Waco, Texas

“All is well” — words of a familiar hymn; Cougar Nation’s resignation after a weekend of Boise State-imposed sadness; and, the contagious tagline of one of BYU Football’s equipment truck drivers, Hal Morrell. 

BYU Cougarettes Instagram account hacked and held for ransom

The Instagram account of the BYU Cougarettes dance team was hacked on Sept. 30 and is currently being held for a ransom of $1,000 to have it returned to BYU's ownership.
- Advertisement -
Print Friendly, PDF & Email