Two weeks after winning his second straight NCAA XC championship and turning pro, Conner Mantz of Provo, Utah, won his first U.S. professional title at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Hardeeville, S.C. over the weekend. Mantz led the race from start to finish, hammering a 2:55 per km pace until he broke away from the field at kilometre 16, finishing first in 60:55.
WHAT A FINISH!!! Conner Mantz holds off a late charge from Sam Chelanga to win the USATF Half-Marathon National Championship with a time of 1:00:55!! pic.twitter.com/utJOY2x7ES
— Wes Kerr (@wkerr317) December 5, 2021
Sam Chelanga took home second place in 60:59, only four seconds behind Mantz. Mantz’s teammates at BYU, Nico Montanez and Clayton Young, were an impressive third and fourth in 61:13 and 61:18, almost achieving a sweep of the championship podium. Montanez was seventh at the Chicago Marathon earlier this fall, running 2:13:55 in his debut.
— Chris Nickinson (@chrisnickinson) December 5, 2021
Although Mantz had one more year of eligibility left in the NCAA, he announced last week that he was leaving the NCAA to pursue a pro career, signing a contract with Nike. Mantz was the favourite to win going into the race as fans speculated whether he would break the U.S. half-marathon record earlier in the week.
Mantz has not announced in what direction he will be taking his career yet, although he has had a lot of success in distance events, winning two NCAA XC championships and top-10 finishes in the 5,000 and 10,000m at U.S. Olympic Trials last June. This race was not his first half marathon, as he ran 62:59 at altitude this summer.
In the women’s race, Keira D’Amato led the race in the final 11 km, gapping the pack by 500m. D’Amato crossed the finish line in 1:07:55 to shatter the championship course record. Natosha Rogers held off the late-race push from Dakotah Lindwurm to place second overall in 1:09:36. Lindwurm took third in 1:09:40, just ahead of Lauren Paquette in her half-marathon debut.
You can view the full list of results, here.