Top Five Female Athletes In BYU Sports History

Mar 8, 2023, 2:39 PM
BYU Cougars, Jennifer Hamson, International Women's Day...
BYU Cougars legend Jennifer Hamson was an All-American in two sports. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – Women’s sports have come a long way for the BYU Cougars athletic department.

From humble beginnings playing in unsanctioned leagues to making their organized debut with volleyball in 1969, women’s sports at BYU have evolved over the last 50-plus years.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we give you the five greatest female athletes in BYU sports history.

#1 Tina Gunn Robison | Basketball

Years played: 1976-80

Tina Gunna Robison is one of two women’s basketball players with her jersey hanging in the rafters at the Marriott Center. Gunn is the only player in BYU history to win honors for women’s basketball player of the year. She did that in 1980, one year before Danny Ainge claimed the men’s first Player of the Year recognition.

Robison led the nation in scoring in the 1979-80 season with 31.2 points per game. She remains the all-time leading scorer in BYU women’s basketball history.

#2 Jennifer Hamson | Volleyball & Basketball

Jennifer Hamson was an All-American in two sports. The 6-foot-7 Hamson was a three-time All-American for the Women’s Volleyball team, and she earned Honorable Mention All-American recognition in hoops.

Hamson led the 2014 volleyball team to the National Championship round against Penn State. She also helped the basketball program advance to the Sweet 16 in 2014 before falling to UConn in the regional semifinals.

#3 Mikayla Colohan | Soccer

Years played: 2017-21

A three-time All-American, Mikayla Colohan (Cluff) is considered one of the best in soccer history at BYU. Colohan is first or second in six major individual career stats in BYU women’s soccer history.

In 2021, Colohan led BYU to their first College Cup appearance and eventually to the National Championship match against Florida State before falling in PKs. Colohan scored 53 goals during her storied BYU career.

#4 Whittni Orton | Cross Country

Years at BYU: 2017-2021

A native of Panguitch, Utah, Orton became the first BYU woman to win an individual NCAA National Championship. In 2021, Orton won the NCAA Championship in 6K with a time of 19:25.4.

She finished 1st in the 6K in six events throughout her BYU career.

#5 Mariliisa Salmi | Volleyball

Years played: 1984-87

A four-time All-American, Salmi led BYU to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Salmi was one of the breakout stars in the decorated women’s volleyball program. She later went on to have a decorated career for the Finland National Team.

Just missed the cut: Erin Thorn (Basketball), Teresa Spauling Hamson (Basketball), Jackie Beene McBride (Basketball), Ashley Hatch (Soccer), Courtney Pugmire (Cross Country), Mary Lake (Volleyball), Gordy Bravo (Softball), Oli Keohohou (softball).

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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Top Five Female Athletes In BYU Sports History