It’s little surprise that Latter-day Saint track athlete Courtney Wayment moved quickly from winning a recent collegiate national championship to making her mark on the global professional stage.
Moving really, really quickly is what Wayment does best.
Just weeks after claiming the women’s steeplechase title at the 2022 NCAA track and field championships in a BYU uniform, Wayment donned a Team USA jersey and qualified for Wednesday night’s final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the world track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon.
On Saturday, July 16, the Layton, Utah, native finished fourth in the second of three heats — crossing the finish line just 0.57 of a second behind heat winner Alice Finot of France, who finished with a time of 9:14.34. The steeplechase race includes hurdles and water jumps.
Wayment’s heat time — the seventh-fastest of the day — was enough to secure her a spot in Wednesday’s prestigious world title race (7:30-11 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBCSports.com and NBC sports app).
“My goal was to make the final. … I just want to put no limits on myself and give myself a shot,” she told a media gathering immediately after her qualifying heat.
Despite just coming off her outdoor collegiate season at BYU, Wayment said she felt fresh for the world championships. Her spirits were also boosted by encouragement she received from her college coach, Diljeet Taylor: “Have confidence and know that you belong here.”
After winning the NCAA title last month, Wayment spoke to the Church News about how her athletic career has been fueled by her faith, supportive family members and wise coaches.
A lifelong Latter-day Saint, Wayment believes the gospel allows her and anyone else “to use our talents, our hard work and our passions to represent Jesus Christ.”
She added that such opportunities are not the sole claim of elite athletes.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re working a 9-to-5 job or if you’re a stay-at-home mom or if you’re an athlete winning a national championship — God cares about you. He knows you. He knows what’s important to you. And He genuinely cares. He wants you to have happiness and joy in your life.”
Wayment’s husband, Tanner Smith, along with her parents, Mark and Becky Wayment, made the trip to Oregon to support their fleet-footed relative.
Her success at the ongoing world championships now takes her one step closer to her ultimate athletic ambition: “My goal is to be an Olympian. I would love to represent the U.S. on a national and world level.”
Courtney Wayment placed 12th in the Wednesday, July 20, final race.