Joseph Hovey | Posted: 13 Jun 2023 | Updated: 15 Jun 2023

BYU men recognized as John McDonnell Program of the Year

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BYU men's track and field honored as John McDonell Program of the Year.

NEW ORLEANS — The BYU men’s track and field and cross country program has been named the 2022-2023 John McDonnell NCAA Division I Men’s Program of the Year, the USTFCCCA announced Tuesday afternoon.

"This is a great honor that represents the work of each of our coaches and student-athletes and reflects the overall strength of the program," said BYU Director of Track and Field Ed Eyestone. "We're not one dimensional with strength isolated to just distance running. We're a well-rounded, balanced program." 

John McDonnell Program of the Year 2023 Final Standings
Rank Team Points
1 BYU 25.5
2 Arkansas 26
3 Washington 27
4 Oklahoma State 36.5
5 Texas 37.5
5 Wisconsin 37.5

The annual award is given to the season's most outstanding track and field/cross country program. It accounts for a program's success across the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons along with its cross country campaign as well. 

The Cougars excelled at all three of the season's NCAA Championships, placing third overall in cross country (132 points), 12th at indoor nationals (17 points) and most recently 10th at outdoor nationals (22.5 points).

Since the award’s debut following the 2008-09 season, the BYU men have finished near the top of the award standings in three previous seasons. The Cougars were runner-up to Arkansas in 2020-21 and Stanford in 2018-19, while also finishing third behind Florida State and Stanford in 2010-11.

BYU sealed its award-winning season with a steeplechase national champion, six First Team All-American honors and a 10th-place team finish at outdoor nationals in Austin, Texas June 7-9. 

Kenneth Rooks' steeplechase national championship fueled the top-10 finish as did 10,000-meter bronze medal recipient Casey Clinger and fellow first-teamers Caleb Witsken (pole vault), Cameron Bates (javelin throw), Dallin Shurts (discus throw) and Ben Barton (decathlon). 

The Cougars now have two top-10 finishes at outdoor nationals in four seasons. Among the coming season's Big 12 track and field programs, BYU finished second only to Texas Tech (sixth). 

BYU posted seven First Team All-Americans at indoor nationals in March, its most since 2011. Casey Clinger brought home First Team honors in both the 3000 and 5000-meters while Caleb Witsken did in the pole vault along with the distance medley relay squad of Kenneth Rooks, Trey Jackson, Sebastian Fernandez and Lucas Bons. 

With a third-place finish at cross country nationals in November 2022, BYU men's cross country garnered its seventh straight top-10 finish and 23rd consecutive in the top-25. The Cougars' run of success is highlighted by a team national title in 2019 and back-to-back individual championships from Conner Mantz in 2020-21 and 2021. 

In 2022 the Cougars boasted four All-Americans: Casey Clinger, Brandon Garnica, Davin Thompson and Creed Thompson. Clinger led BYU at seventh after clocking a 28:58.7 in the 10k.

The honor comes just two years after the BYU women won the USTFCCCA's Terry Crawford Women’s Division I Program of the Year award in 2020-21.

Both BYU men's and women's track and field and cross country welcome the coming challenge of Big 12 competition beginning in fall 2023. 

"This is a great day for BYU track and field and cross country," Eyestone said. "Hopefully we'll be able to continue to be in the running for this award as we move into the Big 12."

Past Winners: John McDonell Men's Program of the Year 
2021-22 Texas
2020-21 Arkansas
2019-20 Not Awarded
2018-19 Stanford
2017-18 Alabama
2016-17 Arkansas
2015-16 Oregon
2014-15 Oregon
2013-14 Oregon
2012-13 Arkansas
2011-12 Florida State
2010-11 Florida State
2009-10 Oregon
2008-09 Oregon

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