Local ties in NCAA cross country races

Monticello native Sara Musselman finished in 43rd place and helped the Brigham Young University (BYU) women to a second place finish in the NCAA cross country championships on November 20 in Tallahassee, FL.

Musselman completed the 6,000-meter course in 20 minutes, eight seconds and is one of five Cougar women in the top 43 at the event.

Sara was in 181st place after the first split time in the grueling race and passed nearly 140 runners over the remainder of the race to finish 43rd overall.

The top five runners for each team contribute to the team score, putting an incredible amount of pressure on the fourth and fifth place runners for each school.

Musselman was the fifth finisher for BYU and was critical to the team collecting the silver trophy, as the Cougars were only eight spots ahead of third place New Mexico.

She was also instrumental in the Cougars national championship in the 2020 race in Oklahoma.

Musselman is the daughter of Ronnie and the late Tammy Musselman. She grew up in Monticello before moving away when she was 14.

Southern Utah was well-represented in the race as the national champion in the women’s race is Whittni Orton of Panguitch. Finishing in 12th place in the women’s race is Anna Camp of Fillmore.

On the men’s side, the individual national champion also has ties to San Juan County.

BYU junior Connor Mantz successfully defended his NCAA championship on the 10,000-meter men’s course with a time of 28:33, more than five seconds ahead of Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo.

Mantz is just the third American, and the first runner from BYU, to win back-to-back national championships in the cross country event.

Connor is the grandson of Paul Mantz of Monticello and Lorraine Peterson of Provo. His parents are Robert and Joana Mantz of Smithfield, UT.

Connor’s father Robert is a 1986 graduate of San Juan High School.

Mantz is earning status as one of the best distance runners in the world. He finished in fifth place in the 10,000 meter race in the 2020 US Olympic Trails and is expectd to turn pro after this season at BYU.

The runners from Northern Arizona University won the men’s race for the fifth time.

Jacob Francis of Moab ran as a member of the Southern Utah University team

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