PROVO, Utah – BYU’s track and field team had several athletes set personal records in their events at the BYU Last Chance Meet on Friday, May 13.
With the NCAA West Preliminary only a week away, BYU participated in its third and final home meet of the season. This meet was a chance for the athletes to sharpen their performances before the team heads to Lawrence, Kansas, where the top 48 from each event in the West Region will compete for a spot at the NCAA Championships.
“The fun thing is just how many kids improved,” associate head coach Mark Robison said. “How many people PR’ed is just unbelievable. We had a ton that qualified (for Regionals) or that were already in that improved. Awesome weather, no one got hurt, it was just an awesome meet for us to bring things to a close for the regular season and now make the transition into the championship portion, which is the fun part of the year.”
With the majority of NCAA teams around the country competing in conference championship events this weekend, the Cougars used this meet not only as an opportunity for those that had not yet qualified for Regionals to run qualifying times, but a chance for several athletes to set personal bests as well.
Sprinter Tatenda Tsumba set a new personal record in the 100 meters, running a 10.27 and beating his previous mark of 10.34. He also set a PR of 20.77 in the 200-meters. The two marks will give him a comfortable spot in the top 48 in the West in both events.
True freshman Connor Ross ran a new personal best in the 800 meters with a time of 1:49.40, which will likely move him into the top 48 in the event, sending him on to the Prelims. Likewise in the 800 meters, Chase Horrocks set a new PR with a mark of 1:50.49, and Trevor Fuhriamn ran a 1:51.06, beating his previous mark by almost half a second.
The men’s 4x100 relay team ran a season best of 40.07, beating their previous mark of 40.12.
For the women’s team, sprinter Kensey Berry set a new PR in the 800 meters, taking nearly three seconds off her previous time by running a 2:08.17, a time good enough to place her in the top 48.
High jumper Erin Merkley cleared a personal best of 1.82 meters in her event, putting her in the national top 10 going into the Preliminaries.
The women’s 4x100 relay team also improved, topping their previous time of 46.10 with a new best of 46.07.
Robison says that the athletes are beginning to see that it is possible to improve even this late in the season, realizing that it is anyone’s race and that every athlete has a shot to get into the Prelims and onto the Championships. The teams feels a lot of excitement moving into the coming weeks.
“At this point in the season is when we want those kinds of things," Robison said. "We have trained hard, we have worked hard, and now we have some time to recover before we head to Kansas. This is just awesome.”
PROVO, Utah—The BYU track team will host the last home meet of the season before heading to the NCAA prelims next weekend. The BYU Last Chance meet, to be held Thursday and Friday at Clarence F. Robison Track, will allow some athletes to sharpen their times and others to have one more chance to qualify for the NCAA’s.
“The purpose for the Last Chance Meet is for those 45-plus athletes that will probably be advancing to the first round of the NCAA’s,” BYU track and field head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We are looking at this as a sharpening meet for them. In some cases, they will be performing in their event to improve or tighten up their game going into the nationals. For others it will be dropping down to another event to maybe run a little faster and sharpen up for the meet. Then another smaller group will be using this as a last chance to perform to get to the top 48 in order to advance forward. A lot of athletes, more so the distance athletes that competed hard last week at the Oxy meet reaching personal records, will just be be training through this week.”
BYU will be competing mainly against themselves, but Westminster College will also be sending some athletes down to compete as well.
Hosting a home meet allows the team to stay home, sleep in their own beds, and stay in their real routine. Eyestone said the athletes feel a certain level of comfort when they get to race on their own track.
“When you know this track and you do all your workouts on it, I think there’s a level of comfort that comes in," Eyestone said. "I think that’s one of the great things for a home meet. On one hand its nice to be competing at home, but on the other hand sometimes you have to rev yourself up an extra level when you know its you against your teammates."