Men’s DMR takes fourth in historic race
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The BYU track and field men’s distance medley relay (DMR) team placed fourth in a race that resulted in two top-three times in the NCAA at the Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday.
“The DMR is the big reason why we come to this meet each year,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “I was very pleased with the overall effort from the guys and I think it may be the third or fourth fastest time ever run by a BYU DMR team. Unfortunately, we just happened to be in a race where the No. 2 and No. 3 all-time collegiate marks were set by Notre Dame and Wisconsin.”
The men’s DMR team finished fourth with a time of 9:30.14 behind Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Illinois. Talem Franco started things off for the Cougars with a 2:55.3 in the 1200m leg before handing off to Michael Bluth who ran the 400m in 46.5. Patrick Parker completed the 800m leg in 1:49.2 before Matt Owens closed out the race as the 1600m anchor in 3:58.8.
“In terms of where things stand as of right now, we’re on the outside looking in when it comes to qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships," Eyestone said. "We have the 13th-best time overall in the NCAA and only the top 12 teams qualify. There is definitely a mixed bag of emotions. We executed extremely well but we just faced some teams that were very strong today.”
Hanna Nealis clocked a career-best 9.80 in the women’s 60m prelims before winning her heat in the 400m finishing in 57.15 to finish fifth overall. Ellie Heiden-Quackenbush took second place in both the 400m (56.26) and 200m (25.04) while also competing in the 60m prelims (9.94).
Scott Mecham earned a season best in his men’s 400m heat finishing with a time of 49.57 while Connor Ross ran a 50.13 in his 400m heat. Marcus Dickson wrapped up competition at the Alex Wilson Invite with an eighth-place finish in the 800m and a time of 1:50.55.
At the University of Washington Last Chance Meet, Whittni Orton improved her position to potentially qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships completing the mile in 4:36.14. The All-American improved her season best by over two seconds and is attempting to secure a place at Nationals for the second indoor season in a row after taking seventh overall in the mile at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
BYU track and field will compete next at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships on Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Dempsey Indoor Track Arena. Meet information will be available on the BYU track and field schedule page two days prior to the meet.
Cougars send 10 athletes to final meets before conference championships
PROVO, Utah – BYU track and field will send nine athletes to compete at the Alex Wilson Invitational in Notre Dame, Indiana, on Saturday, Feb. 16 and one athlete to compete at the Last Chance Elite Meet in Seattle, Washington, on Friday, Feb. 15. These will be the last meets of the regular indoor track season for the Cougars before conference championships.
“The Alex Wilson Invitational is an opportunity for the men’s distance medley relay team to earn a qualifying time for the national championship,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We’re bringing a strong middle distance crew along with Michael Bluth to put together the best DMR that we can. Hopefully we’ll come home with a ticket to Nationals.”
Eyestone anticipates a strong performance from the DMR team. In order to qualify for NCAA Indoor Championships, they DMR team must rank in the top-12. Talem Franco will start the relay off in the 1200m leg and will hand off the baton to Michael Bluth for the 400m leg. Following Bluth, Patrick Parker will receive the baton for the 800m leg and Matt Owens will run anchor to round out the race.
Previously this season at the Iowa State Classic, Franco clocked a 4:01.16 mile for the eighth-fastest time in BYU history. Bluth also earned a spot on the school record boards after running the No. 4 BYU all-time in the men’s 400m (46.94) at the Texas Tech Shootout.
Eyestone noted that five other athletes will have the chance to improve their positions and standings in the MPSF rankings at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
In addition to the athletes racing in Notre Dame, Whittni Orton will travel to the Last Chance Elite Meet to compete in the mile in an attempt to solidify a NCAA-qualifying mark. In the 2018 indoor season, Orton finished seventh overall in the mile with a time of 4:35.44 at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Follow @BYUTFXC on Twitter for team updates from the meets. Live results can be found on the BYU track and field schedule page on the days of the meets. The schedule of events and meet information can be found on und.com and gohuskies.com.