BYU’s Courtney Wayment breaks NCAA record to win steeplechase national title

In sports, there’s winning, and then there’s winning with style.

Courtney Wayment accomplished both Saturday in Eugene, Oregon, as BYU’s decorated track star shattered the previous NCAA women’s championship record with a 9:16:00 mark in the 3000m steeplechase to capture her fourth career national title.

Wayment established a sizable lead after just two laps in the 12-athlete race, running far ahead of the crowd in a mad dash against time to cement her status in the NCAA record books.

“The plan was to rely on my fitness and all the things that I have done to get to this moment,” Wayment said. “If anyone was going to come with me, then I planned to put my foot on the gas a little bit more.”

Wayment’s 9:16:00 finish broke her own personal record, BYU’s program record and the NCAA record by a staggering nine second margin. Wayment’s runner-up — Kayley Delay of Yale — finished with the third-best time in history at 9:25:08.

But it wasn’t good enough to beat Wayment. Wayment’s remarkable performance left ESPN’s commentating crew — which included former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III — completely floored.

The steeplechase victory is Wayment’s third career national individual national title, winning indoor titles for both the 3000m and 5000m in 2021 and 2022, respectively along with a cross country team championship in 2020.

“As a freshman in 2017, I didn’t do very well at regionals, so my parents and I drove out to Eugene for Nationals and sat over there in the stands,” Wayment told ESPN after her finish. “I remember during the final, I sat there and sobbed because I wanted so badly to be on that track. Today was to inspire all of the people, all of the young women out there who are where I was in 2017. You can do it. You just have to give yourself a shot.”

Wayment is BYU’s fourth ever national steeplechase champion, joining Friday’s javelin champion Ashton Riner as the two biggest weekend winners for the Cougars. BYU’s women’s track squad finished ninth overall in Eugene, earning the Cougars consecutive top-10 championship finishes for the first time since 1999-2000.

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