The women’s steeplechase at the NCAA champs was paradigm-changing, with so many PBs and with a new meet record. Aaron Heisen wrote this piece on how well Courtney Wayment managed the race and dominated the competition.
Courtney Wayment was relentless in the W steeplechase, photo by Kevin Neri
By Aaron Heisen
SOJC Track Bureau
Courtney Wayment left nothing up to chance.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Saturday, Wayment turned a star-studded field into a one-woman race.
“The plan was to rely on my fitness and all the things that I have done to get to this moment,” Wayment said. “And if anyone was going to come with me, then I’ll just put my foot on the gas a little bit more.”
Wayment, a senior from BYU, won the race in 9 minutes, 16.00 seconds, setting a collegiate record.
She got out to the front of the pack early as the field rushed out to a fast pace. Wayment overtook Auburn’s Joyce Kimeli with 2,000 meters to go and extended her lead from there. With 800 left, she had built a 20-meter lead.
In the end, she dominated the field and won by a 9.08-second margin over Yale’s Kayley Delay, who ran a personal-best 9:25.08 and made the World Athletics Championship standard.
“She made a hard move, and nobody went with her, so I was like ‘I might as well try,'” Delay said.
Wayment tends to use strong those starts to get an advantageous position and break away from her opponents. She took that approach on Saturday and in the semifinals on Thursday.
However, on Thursday, that strategy did not prove successful as she was outkicked by Arkansas’ Logan Jolly. On Saturday, she did not allow anyone to outkick her, let alone keep up with her.
“That was the race plan all along,” Wayment said. “Go out somewhere around 4:55, and the next two laps see if anyone’s going to hang and respect every barrier that I was going over.”
Not only did Wayment set the collegiate record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, but with the win, she moved above Leah Falland for the fifth-fastest time ever by an American.