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BYU’s Conner Mantz, Whittni Orton sweep NCAA individual cross country championships

BYU’s Whittni Orton pulls away to win the individual title at the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida,
BYU’s Whittni Orton pulls away to win the individual title at the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida, on Nov. 20, 2021.
BYU Photo

BYU has swept the individual titles at the 2021 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

The Cougars’ Whittni Orton took the women’s title Saturday morning in Tallahassee, Florida, and then Conner Mantz won his second consecutive championship immediately after.

At the last championships, Orton led much of the way before fading down the stretch, although the Cougars took the overall team title.

On Saturday, Orton left no doubt in the individual competition, pulling away in the final kilometer to take the women’s crown after being in the lead pack throughout.

Mantz, on the other hand, finished in very similar fashion as in the last championships. He was up near the front the entire race, occasionally taking the lead, and then pulled away in the final 200 meters, beating out Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo for the second straight time.

After winning the team title at the last championships, the BYU women came close but couldn’t quite recreate the same magic in the team competition, finishing second behind NC State.

The men finished seventh for the second consecutive championships as Northern Arizona won again.

Alabama’s Mercy Chelangat, who won the women’s title in June, finished that competition second behind Orton Saturday.

Beside the winners, BYU also had top finishers in both the men’s and women’s competitions, as Casey Clinger took eighth in the men’s and Anna Camp placed 12th in the women’s.