WALNUT, Calif. – More BYU track and field athletes picked up times and marks that should qualify them for regionals at the 58th annual Mount Sac Relays hosted by Cerritos College this weekend.
“The Mount Sac Relays is an important opportunity for our athletes, particularly our distance runners who only get to run their events a couple of times before the regional meet,” BYU track and field head coach Ed Eyestone said. “So this was big for them. Many of them had already qualified two weeks ago at Stanford, but this gave them an opportunity to possibly qualify in another event. And we think that happened in the case of both Connor McMillan and Aaron Fletcher in the 5,000 meters.”
McMillan is already qualified for regionals in the 10,000 meters while Fletcher qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. McMillan ran a time of 13:53.53 in the 5,000 meters this weekend, while Fletcher came in just behind him in a time of 13:55.64. Both times should qualify for regionals. Rory Linkletter ran a solid time of 14:06.94 in the event, but it may fall short of a regional-qualifying time.
Craig Merkley had a new personal best in the discus with a mark of 53.42 meters at the Beach Pacific Coast Invitational hosted by Long Beach State University on Thursday. He turned around the next day at the Mount Sac Relays to win his section in the event. He will likely qualify for regionals with the mark.
Dennis Christensen won the shot put with a mark of 17.70 meters at the Beach Pacific Coast Invitational. The mark will move him on to regionals. Nicolas Montanez finished second in his section with a time of 29:56.45 in the 10,000 meters. He will likely fall just shy of a regional-qualifying spot with that time.
The first nine women runners to compete over the weekend each set personal records, and some were fast enough to qualify for regionals. Kristi Rush won her section in the 1,500 meters with a personal-best time of 4:23.90. She will get into regionals with the time. Ashleigh Warner finished just behind with her new personal-best time of 4:25.54. Erica Birk was the next BYU runner to finish with yet another personal-best time of 4:26.31. Both Warner and Birk are on the borderline to qualify as last year it took 4:25.17 to get to regionals in the event.
Each of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase athletes improved on their marks. Lauren Shubin, 10:27, and Rush, 10:28, will both qualify for regionals. Emma Gee ran the event in 10:40, which will probably get her in as well.
Yesenia Silva ran 34:50.62 in the 10,000 meters, and Natalie Shields-Connolly ran 34:50.94. Both times will be close to getting into regionals. Kassie Nagel had a new personal best in the shot put with a mark of 14.73m. Her performance puts her at No. 8 all-time in BYU outdoor track and field history.
“It was a great meet that will prepare us really well for our home meet next weekend,” Eyestone said.
Up next is a rare home meet for BYU track and field this Thursday through Saturday at the Clarence Robison Invitational. A complete schedule of events will be posted next week.
PROVO, Utah – BYU’s distance runners will compete in the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, California, while the Cougar throwers will head north for the Mark Faldmo Invitational in Logan, Utah.
“The Mt. Sac Relays are very important for the distance side of things,” BYU track and field head coach Ed Eyestone said. “This will be another great opportunity for good competition, improvement on marks, and hopefully some more regional qualifying marks will come out of it.”
Most of the men’s distance runners have already qualified for regionals and will be competing in off events this weekend in California. Those already qualified in the 10,000 meters and steeplechase will now try to qualify for regionals in the 5,000 meters.
“This will be a great chance for them to build their strength and endurance. So when they go back to their other events, they’ll have the endurance necessary to run the strong, fast pace they’ll need to reach the national meet,” said Eyestone.
Eyestone identified freshman Rory Linkletter as the top men’s athlete to watch this week. Linkletter has already qualified in the steeplechase, and he will make his season debut in the 5,000 meters. Eyestone said he has confidence that Linkletter can run a new personal record that will put him among the top-15 runners in the West Region.
On the women’s side, some distance runners are still looking for regional-qualifying marks. Natalie Shields-Connolly and Yesenia Silva will both be competing in the 5,000 meters looking to qualify. Lauren Shubin will be a top competitor in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She already owns a regional-qualifying time, and she will look to improve her personal ranking. The Mt. Sac Relays are one of the fastest meets of the year for athletes to post times.
Fresh off her record-setting performance last weekend, Shea Martinez-Collinsworth will be back competing in the 800 meters in the Golden State. Eyestone said she would face her best competition to this point in the season at the Relays.
Live results from both the Mt. Sac Relays and the Mark Faldmo Invitational can be found on the BYU men's track and field schedule page.