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BYU’s Mantz and Young excited to represent U.S. at Olympics

BYU’s Mantz and Young excited to represent U.S. at Olympics

PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It was another typical day for former BYU distance runners Conner Mantz and Clayton Young. They were training together, just as they have the last seven years.

“In any sport, it’s better when you’re training with people,” Mantz said. “And great friends is even better.”

Mantz and Young met in high school when Mantz was at Sky View and Young at American Fork.

“He was a freshman when I was a senior,” said Young, who is three years older. “It was very much like a mentor relationship at first. Connor thought I was the coolest guy around, and that was pretty fun.”

“Oh absolutely,” Mantz agreed.

When they both teamed up at BYU in 2017, a friendship and training regimen began where they learned how to help each other out.

Former BYU teammates qualify for Olympic marathon

“We were put in the same races, and we started running fast together,” Young said. “That’s when our mentor relationship became a teammate relationship.”

“You’re able to just kind of go off the other person’s pace,” Mantz said. “I think that just is something that helps out mentally. It’s just pushing through the pain.”

In February, Mantz and Young both qualified for the Olympics, finishing first and second at the U.S. Olympics trials in Florida. As of now, they will be the only marathon runners from the United States in Paris. That was a moment they will be able to share forever.

“Out of a race of two hundred guys, going 1-2 and taking those two spots that we had rightfully earned was pretty memorable,” said Young, who finished a close second to Mantz. “And to share that moment with Conner throughout the race, there were there were high fives, there were smiles. Then we got to share that home stretch together, that was special.”

“Had I qualified and Clayton hadn’t, it’d be kind of rough right now,” Mantz said. “Like, I want to beat him whenever I’m in the race with him. But when we’re out in the same race, I want him to win.”

“It’s almost unprecedented,” said BYU track and field coach Ed Eyestone about two college teammates being the only Olympic marathon runners. “It’s going to be tough to get on the podium, but it will be hot and humid in Paris, so there is definitely a chance.”

Mantz and Young estimate they’ve ran over 10,000 miles together through the years. A place on the podium in Paris would be ideal, but just to be able to fulfill their Olympic dreams together is just as special.

“I one hundred percent believe that there’s a chance I can get on the podium,” Mantz said. “And I think Clayton does too. It’s like, let’s go for a medal.”

“Honestly, a win for Conner is a win for me, and vice versa,” Young said. “I think it would be amazing to represent BYU, the state of Utah, and this village that really has has brought up two young boys to be able to compete on an Olympic stage.”

The Olympic marathon will be held August 10th in Paris.

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