SEATTLE — The BYU track and field team recorded a total of 42 season-best performances at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Seattle this Friday and Saturday.
“Having 54 athletes here means there are at least 54 opportunities for season bests,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We came in with a goal of trying to get at least 36 season bests and we surpassed that with 42. You really want to deliver your best ones at the last big indoor meet of the year. The other main goal we had was to make sure that we did the work we needed to in order to prepare our national qualifiers. All in all, we accomplished a lot of really good goals and now we are looking forward to the NCAA Championships in two weeks.”
Shea Collinsworth recorded a BYU school record in the women’s one mile with a time of 4:35.76, three seconds faster than the previous school record. She currently holds the school record now for three events—the 400-meter run, 800-meter run and the mile.
“One of the big races of the day was the women’s mile where Shea got second place and showed that she is not just an 800-meter runner," Eyestone said. "She looked very strong, she set another school record by a couple of seconds and ran the best women’s mile in the history of BYU. That was huge and very exciting for her."
In the men’s 800-meter run, Connor Ross stepped up after being sick for a week leading up to the meet. Ross placed second overall with a time of 1:49.67.
Women’s distance runner Laura Young placed sixth in the 5,000-meter run with a new personal-best time of 16:15.66. Alice Jensen also reached a new personal-best time in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:45.35, placing 12th overall.
Rory Linkletter, Nicolas Montanez and Daniel Carney all placed within the top-15 of the men’s 5,000-meter run. Linkletter ran a time of 13:59.59 to take second place, Montanez had a personal-best time of 14:09.08 to take eighth place and Carney had a season-best time of 14:13.94 to place 13th.
Linkletter’s time will qualify him to participate in the NCAA Championships along with sophomore Clayton Young. Young’s time in the 3,000-meter run will also send him to the NCAA Championships.
Senior Chloe Hadley put on strong performances in the women’s long jump and triple jump. Hadley set an indoor personal record for herself in the long jump with a mark of 18’ 2.50” (5.55m) coming in at 10th overall. Her seventh-place performance in the triple jump puts her at No. 8 for BYU’s all-time records with a mark of 39’ 10.50” (12.15m).
Eyestone said Zachary Blackham improved on his mark in the high jump and rose up big time in his performance. Blackham’s mark of 7’ 3” (2.21m) read third place overall and marked a season best. This mark will send Blackham to the NCAA Championships.
The women’s pentathlon and the men’s heptathlon were also among some of the big performances with Halley Folsom reaching a personal best of 3,571 points and placing eighth overall. Kevin Nielsen took second place in the heptathlon with a new school record of 5,728 points and Jackson Walker finished sixth place with 5,361 points.
Eyestone said Nielsen’s performance put him in a good position to punch his ticket for the national meet.
“He really had to dig down and he got a new personal best," Eyestone said. "He had a great, great day. The heptathlon has so many events and the fact that he PR’d in many of those events was really big for him. He really reached down and had a great second day."
Additional athletes who hit personal bests this weekend include freshman Clark Brown (200-meter dash), sophomore Keesha Miller (200-meter dash), junior Drew Tingey (400-meter run), freshman Anna Camp (800-meter run) and freshman Courtney Wayment (3,000-meter run).
The NCAA Championships in two weeks marks the final meet of the indoor season. The meet will take place Friday, March 10, to Saturday, March 11, in College Station, Texas.
For a full list of results from the MPSF Championships, click here.
PROVO, Utah - As the regular season winds down, the BYU men’s and women’s track and field teams will take off on Thursday for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships which will take place in Seattle on Feb. 24-25.
BYU head coach Ed Eyestone reflected on what his team has accomplished this past regular season and what they hope to accomplish at this week’s conference meet.
“I appreciate the way the team has come together and rallied behind one another in the different events,” he said. “That is what we want to continue to see at this meet. The MPSF conference meet is mainly set up to prepare athletes for the national meet. Our philosophy going in isn’t necessarily to try and win the conference but to try and get more people qualified for nationals and, for those who have qualified, prepare them the best for that meet.”
Sixteen athletes from each event will qualify for the NCAA national meet, and BYU is looking particularly at a few events in which they hope to improve and punch tickets for nationals.
One of those events is the men’s DMR. With the men running a 9:31.68 last week at the Alex Wilson Invitational, they currently sit just one spot out of qualifications and will compete again this week in hopes of logging a faster time.
“I think we have a couple of seconds in there that we can make up this week,” Eyestone said. “Connor Ross did a very good job (in the 800-meter leg), but is sick this week, so we are going to substitute in Marcus Dickson for the 800 leg. I don’t think we are losing a lot in the substitution. Hopefully with our four guys in there (Max Scheible, 400m; Marcus Dickson, 800m; Abraham Alvarado, 1200m; Clayton Young, mile;), we can run a time that will bump us from 13th into the top 10.”
Additionally, heptathlete Kevin Nielsen, who currently sits in 20th place, hopes to improve his high score by about 100 points and secure a qualifying spot in the top 16.
Athletes that have already secured qualifying spots include the women’s DMR team, Shea Collinsworth in the 800 meters, Abraham Alvarado in the 800 meters, Clayton Young in both the 3000 meters and 5000 meters, and Rory Linkletter also in the 5000 meters.
The women’s DMR team currently claims third place on the qualifying lists with a time of 10:56.93. Collinsworth also sits comfortably in second place overall in the 800 meters following a record-breaking race at the Iowa State Classic in which she ran a 2:01.42.
Alvarado is currently in 10th place it the 800 with a time of 1:47.46. Clayton Young holds fifth place in the 3000 meters (7:49.76) and 10th place in the 5000 meters (13:42.25) with Rory Linkletter in 16th place (13:49.00).
The above-mentioned athletes will compete in secondary events in order to sharpen or give strength to the skills they will utilize in the national meet. Young will complete only in the DMR, while Alvarado runs both the DMR and the mile, with Collinsworth taking part only in the open mile.
Linkletter will look to solidify his position in the 5000 meters this weekend. Alsoo looking to strengthen their marks are Zach Blackham and Andrea Stapleton, who currently hold qualifying spots but look to improve this weekend, guaranteeing them entry into nationals.
Eyestone said that an additional goal the combined men’s and women’s team has is to record 36 season-best performances.
“For those that aren’t quite yet in nationals and might not be, we are just hoping for season-best performances,” he said. “Another one of our goals as a team is to see 36 season-best times, and that is one of the numbers we will also be looking at during this meet. We even have a countdown chart to track it with; as people get season bests, they will come and record it as we try to make our goal of 36.”
The meet begins on Feb. 24 at Dempsey Indoor Track Arena at the University of Washington. Friday updates will be published on the BYU Track and Field blog, found on the home page of the BYU Track and Field page. For live updates, follow @BYUTFXC on Twitter.