Conner Mantz, the former two-time NCAA cross-country champion and professional road-racing star from BYU, continued his streak of near misses on the track. Competing in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Thursday night in Eugene, Oregon, he finished sixth in the 10,000-meter run. The top three qualify to represent the U.S. in the world track championships in Budapest later this summer.

The race was won by Olympian Woody Kincaid with a time of 28:23.01, followed by Joe Klecker (28:24.50) and Sean McGorty (28:24.96). Olympian Grant Fisher (28:25.61) and Olympic medalist Paul Chelimo (28:29.34) were fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by Mantz (28:29.36).

Mantz, a 26-year-old from Smithfield, Utah, was trying to qualify for his first U.S. world championships track team. In last year’s national championships, he finished fourth in the 5,000 — one spot from qualifying — and seventh in the 10,000 on this same track. He was fifth in the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials at 10,000 meters.

Mantz will compete in the 5,000-meter final on Sunday. 

On Day 1 of the U.S. championships Thursday, the 10,000 was the only final contested on the track. The University of Utah’s Emily Venters placed seventh in the women’s race. She finished second in the 10,000 and third in the 5,000 at last month’s NCAA championships.

The top three finishers were Elise Cranny (32:12.30), Alicia Monson (32:17.51) and Natasha Rogers (32:22.77). Venters finished with a time of 32:45.47. She will compete in the 5,000-meter run Sunday.

Conner Mantz headlines big Utah contingent at USA track and field championships

Hannah Branch, who became an assistant coach in January at Utah Valley University after finishing her collegiate running career at that school, finished 15th in the 10,000. The former Corner Canyon High runner clocked 34:16.65.

Chari Hawkins, the former Utah State All-American, was in third place in the heptathlon at the end of the first day of competition. She placed third in the 100-meter hurdles, fourth in the high jump, sixth in the shot put and sixth in the 200-meter dash, giving her a total of 831 points. Anna Hall, the rising young star, is the leader with 4,009 points. Taliyah Brooks was second with 3,890 points. The heptathlon will conclude Friday with the final three events.

BYU’s Claire Seymour, who finished third in the 800 at the recent NCAA championships, placed 17th in the first round Thursday night and missed advancing to the semifinals by one place. Likewise, Anna Camp Bennett, the 2021 NCAA champion for BYU who now runs professionally, finished 13th in the first round of the 1,500 and also missed advancing to the finals by one place. Her time: 4:13.36.

Dallin Shurts, another BYU athlete, finished fifth in the discus. He finished second in this meet a year ago.

BYU’s Lexy Holladay, who placed fourth in the NCAA championships, had the sixth-fastest qualifying time in the steeplechase at 9:43.09, while former Cougar Courtney Wayment had the 12th-fastest time at 9:46:26. Both runners advanced to the finals. Former world champion Emma Coburn had the day’s fastest time, 9:36.69.

BYU’s Kenneth Rooks, the 2023 NCAA steeplechase champion, had the fourth-fastest time in Thursday’s first round, 8:24.73. Mason Ferric had the fastest qualifying time, 8:24.14.

Several athletes with Utah ties will be competing Friday — BYU’s Zach McWhorter in the pole vault, BYU’s Cierra Tidwell in the high jump and Hawkins in the heptathlon long jump, javelin and 800-meter run.

University of Utah tack star Emily Venters poses for a photo as the Utah women’s track team practices at the McCarthey Family Track and Field Complex in Salt Lake City on Monday, May 22, 2023. Venters placed seventh in the 10,000-meter at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Thursday night in Eugene, Oregon. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News