AMES, Iowa – A number of BYU athletes broke into the school's all-time top-10 list or set new personal records in the final regular season meet at the Iowa State Classic this weekend.
Senior Zachary Stetler had his best throw ever with a mark of 18.66 meters in the shot put, good for eighth best in BYU indoor school history. Freshman Connor Ross ran 1:50.47 in the 800 meters to give him the 10th best time in school history. Ryan Waite, BYU track and field director of operations, said it’s always special when an athlete breaks into the record books.
“Whenever anybody can get into the all-time top-10 in school history it’s a big deal,” Waite said. “We like to celebrate and have a little ceremony for them when we come back. I think it’s what a lot of people on the team work toward, so it’s one of the greatest accomplishments you can have as a BYU track and field athlete.”
Part of the intrigue in Iowa was getting out of the routine to face new competition in an unfamiliar location. Waite said he thought it was great for the team.
“The competition in every event was just fantastic,” Waite said. “We’re on the West Coast for a lot of our meets. We usually go to California, Washington, Arizona and other places like that for most of our meets. So we were able to face a lot of competition we usually don’t see. I think that was fun for the athletes. I also think it helped our team’s level of competition because there were great performances in all event groups.”
There were quite a few impressive performances in the mile. Junior Jonathan Harper led the way with a time of 4:02.24. A group of underclassmen that included Rory Linkletter, Chase Horrocks, Talem Franco and Karson Fronk ran the mile in 4:07 and under. The men’s 4x400 meters team won the event with a season-best time of 3:10.28. Sophomore John Glazier won the long jump in Iowa with a mark of 7.42 meters, 10th best in BYU indoor history.
“To win an individual event at a meet like this is a big deal. It’s huge,” Waite said. “At an event like this you’re competing against a lot of Power Five schools. For you to say that out of all those schools you have the best long jumper that’s a big deal. It goes a long way when you’re talking to recruits and when you’re evaluating the status of the program. It means you’re at least at that level.”
Waite noted that many athletes felt this meet was great preparation for the conference championships in two weeks.
“Almost everybody was saying after every event that this was exactly what they needed before conference,” Waite said. “They said it really prepared them for the MPSF meet in a couple of weeks, so I think it was a nice springboard.”
NAMPA, Idaho – Sophomore Kevin Nielsen had a career-day to lead a small portion of the team that competed in the Boise State Challenge.
Nielsen had new personal records in both the high jump and long jump, with marks of 2.05 meters and 7.48 meters, respectively. His long jump was good for eighth best in BYU indoor history. Mark Robison, BYU track and field associate head coach, was thrilled with his day.
“Kevin had an awesome day in the high jump and long jump,” Robison said. “He really jumped well. He’s a heptathlete and he’ll get to compete in two weeks. Hopefully he can improve his score a little bit so he can get into nationals.”
Other athletes with notable performances included pole vaulters Kyle Brown and Jameson Shirley. Brown had his best meet of the season with a mark of 5.15 meters. Shirley equaled the same mark. Zachary Blackham jumped 2.15 meters in the high jump, and Jackson Walker set new personal records in both the long jump (6.68 meters) and 60 meter hurdles (8.44).
“A lot of the marks we got here were just as good or better than the ones in Iowa,” Robison said. “I think the athletes did very well. Now we get a week off before we head to the MPSF meet with one more chance to qualify for nationals. It should be pretty exciting.”
For full results from both meets, visit the BYU men’s track and field schedule page.
Next up for BYU track and field are the MPSF Championships in Seattle Feb. 26-27.
PROVO, Utah – This weekend is the final tune-up for BYU track and field before the conference meet when they compete in both the Iowa State Classic and Boise State Challenge on Feb. 12-13.
The majority of the team will travel to Ames, Iowa, while BYU associate head coach Mark Robison will bring the high jumpers and pole vaulters to Boise, Idaho.
Time is now running short for athletes trying to nab a qualifying mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships. BYU head coach Ed Eyestone hopes some of his athletes can take that step this weekend.
“The men’s 4x400 meters team is a group that has a chance to qualify for the national meet, so we’re hoping to put together our best four people this week,” Eyestone said. “I think if everybody has a season-best performance then I think we have a good chance of getting our team qualified.”
Eyestone said his All-American might make an appearance in yet another event this weekend.
“We think Shaquille will run in the 400 meters in addition to the 4x400 meters relay," Eyestone said. "It all depends on how he is feeling, so we haven’t quite decided yet. If he does, I think it will be a nice speed work opportunity that will help him prepare individually for the 800 meters at the national meet.”
Getting another one of his team’s to the NCAA Championships is also on Eyestone’s mind.
“The other thing we’re trying to do is continue to see improvement from our middle distance runners because we’re trying to put together the best distance medley relay team we can,” Eyestone said. “We feel like we can qualify a DMR team for the national meet as well. The middle distance group will be positioning themselves by running individual events this weekend. It’s almost like they’ll be having open auditions to see who will run the 1200 meters and mile legs of the DMR at the MPSF Championships. From there we'll try to qualify our team for the NCAA's.”
He identified the middle distance runners he believes are prepared to have a big weekend. Marcus Dickson (mile), Chase Horrocks (mile), Talem Franco (mile) and Connor Ross (800 meters) are all competing for a spot on the DMR team.
To follow live results from this weekend’s meets, visit the BYU men’s track and field schedule page.