Amy Menlove, a junior from Alta High School, won a rare NCAA championship for BYU at Friday's NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas.
Menlove took first place in the pentathlon — a combination of five events — to become BYU's first individual indoor NCAA champion since Tiffany Lott turned the feat in 1997. She is only the fourth BYU athlete ever to win an indoor title.
"I'll just say what a lot of coaches are saying here — she's an incredible athlete," said BYU coach Craig Poole. "She made a lot of people take notice today, that's for sure."
Menlove totaled a school-record 4,365 points to best pre-meet favorite Gayle Hunter of Penn State, who was second with 4,342 points. "I thought if I did well I would win it," said Menlove, who ranked only ninth coming into the event. "I hadn't hit the marks I knew I could."
Menlove, already one of the most decorated BYU track athletes ever, took first place in the first event of the competition, the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 8.26. But after competing in the next two events – the high jump (5-6 1/2) and shot put (38 feet, 1 inch), she slipped to fourth. Then Menlove popped a 21-foot leap in the long jump — the best jump of the day — to take over first place again. She maintained her lead by winning the 800-meter run with a personal-best time of 2:18.65.
"It was a very long day," said Menlove, who, a little over an hour later, competed in the open long jump competition.
Still exhausted from the pentathlon, she managed to place seventh with another 21-foot jump to earn another All-America citation.
After graduating from Alta, where she was a three-time state champion in both the 100-meter dash and the long jump, Menlove was an indoor an outdoor All-America before departing for an 18-month church mission. She redshirted last season before rejoining the team this season.
This promises to be a memorable month for Menlove, who plans to marry in 10 days.