Eight Cougars Crack Top-10 List, Orton Breaks Third Record
SEATTLE — All-American Whittni Orton broke her third individual school record of the season in the women’s 3000m as eight Cougars moved up the school record boards at the Husky Classic and Texas Tech Shootout this weekend.
BYU track and field athletes competed at three different meets over the weekend. The distance runners raced at the Husky Classic; throwers, jumpers, hurdlers, multis, pole vaulters and sprinters competed at the Texas Tech Shootout; and Zach McWhorter participated in the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships in men’s pole vault.
“I would say mission accomplished at both meets,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We’re extremely pleased with how we performed this weekend. We had outstanding performances from the Ellsworth sisters and Anna Camp-Bennett in the 800m. Whittni continues to be on a tear as she broke the 3000m school record. Extremely proud of her. Outstanding efforts from the 800m women, they were well prepared for their race. On the men’s side, we had good performances all around. Jake Heslington was outstanding in the 5000m to move up to third all-time in program history. Brandon Garnica’s race was very inspiring, he kicked hard at the end and ran an incredible race.”
Orton’s time of 8:49.63 in the women’s 3000m shattered the previous record set by Erica Birk-Jarvis by 11 seconds. This season she also set the 5000m, mile and was a member of the school record DMR (distance medley relay) team.
“Coming off our cross country season we had some high expectations,” BYU Associate Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Diljeet Taylor said. “We’re capitalizing on her fitness currently. We’re grateful that it’s all coming together for her in the different races that she’s competed in this season.”
Cougar history continued to be rewritten as Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Anna Camp-Bennett and Alena Ellsworth all moved up in the BYU top-10 all-time list in the women’s 800m. Ellsworth-Barnes, previously No. 9 all-time, won the women’s 800m and moved up to No. 6 with a time of 2:05.33. Camp-Bennett moved from No. 10 all-time to No. 7 with a time of 2:05.56 to come in second at the Husky Classic. Ellsworth landed at No. 9 all-time after her 2:05.85 performance that was good for fourth-place at the meet.
“Anna is having a great season overall,” Taylor said. “All of our women that ran this weekend performed really well. The expectations in the program have risen. We’re seeing people believing in themselves, and the success others are seeing is helping other people continue to succeed.”
The women’s distance squad saw a bevy of personal best times as well. McKenna Lee (9:38.43), Aubrey Frentheway (9:38.57), Amanda Erickson (9:52.82) Rachel Morrin (9:54.34) and Sophie Laswell (9:20.55) all ran personal record times in the women’s 3000m. Meg Babcock also ran a personal record time in the women’s 800m of 2:14.72 and Heather Hanson (4:53.03) ran a personal best in the women’s mile.
On the men’s side, two athletes reached top-10 times in program history. Senior Jacob Heslington ran a personal-best time of 13:39.05 in the men’s 5000m, good for No. 3 in the Cougar record books. He edged out Conner Mantz by half a second to claim the third spot.
“We could see that coming from Jake,” Eyestone said. “The way he’s been training and preparing himself is deserving of that three spot. His time should qualify him for the national meet. We’re so proud of the work he’s put in this season.”
Also in the men’s 5000m, Brandon Garnica ran a personal best time to land at No. 10 in BYU history with a time of 13:45.69. Garnica shattered his previous record of 14:05.97.
For the rest of the men’s distance team, personal bests was the theme of the day. Matt Owens (4:01.31) in the mile, Adam Wood (8:18.54) in the 3000m and Garrett Marsing (8:08.10) in the 3000m.
“We had a great weekend from our men at the Husky Classic. I liked the effort, and I think that paid off in the results we had. We saw a lot of personal best times, and I think we can keep improving and getting better before we get to the national meet.”
TEXAS TECH SHOOTOUT
The Texas Tech Shootout was highlighted by Hannah Nealis and Rickey Fantroy Jr. moving up on the BYU top-10 record list, among many personal best performances.
“We had a great outing by all standards,” Eyestone said. “Hannah and Rickey really, can’t say enough about their performances. For Hannah to get two in one day is special. I was impressed with Conner Kennedy in the long jump, we could see that one coming. I’m pleased with how we did overall, we had so many personal best performances, we’re proud of our team.”
Nealis ran her way onto both the 200m and 400m all-time lists in one meet. Her time of 24.21 in the 200m was a personal best and No. 7 in Cougar history. She also ran a personal best in the 400m to finish at 55.28, good for No. 9 in the BYU record books.
Fantroy Jr. jumped from No. 9 to No. 7 all-time in men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.50m/50-10.75. The senior team captain also ran 6.86 in the men’s 60m.
The shootout meet was also full of personal records. The men’s 4x400m relay which consisted of Cortez Ruiz, Landon Maxfield, Ransom Allphin and Michael Bluth ran a season-best time of 3:09.47.
Freshman Lauryn Ford both ran and jumped personal best performances in the long jump and 60m. Her jump of 5.90m/19-4.25 and time of 7.72 marks her continued improvement throughout the season.
Conner Kennedy also landed a personal-best mark in the long jump, his jump of 7.48m/24-6.5 was good for second place.
“These times and marks are the results of a lot of hard work and determination. I know how hard our athletes work to compete at a high level. I can’t say enough about how they performed this weekend. We’ll be back to work this week to get ready for the meets that we have in the coming weeks.”
Sprinter Easton Bianchi ran 21.82, good for a personal best time in the men’s 200m.
Elise Romney won the women’s pole vault, one centimeter shy of tying her school-record mark of 4.31m, taking the top spot at 4.30m/14-1.25.
In the women’s weight throw, Sable Lohmeier placed fourth with a toss of 17.12m/56-2.
USATF INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Zach McWhorter placed 12th in the men’s pole vault at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships on Friday. He vaulted a mark of 5.55m/18-2 ½, close to his personal best of 5.61m.
McWhorter, a freshman, is currently second all-time at BYU in the men’s pole vault and sixth in the nation.
The Cougars return to action on Saturday to compete in the JDL Fast Track meet in North Carolina.
BYU gears up for this weekend's meets in Washington and Texas
PROVO, Utah – The BYU track and field team will travel to Texas for the Texas Tech Shootout and return to Seattle for the Husky Classic this weekend. Events will begin Friday, Feb. 14, and go through Saturday, Feb. 15.
“We’re dividing and conquering this week by sending our distance squad up to Washington, while our jumpers, sprinters and throwers will travel to Texas,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We’re excited for the opportunity to see our entire team perform well, continue to post good marks and work towards the conference championship coming up in a couple weeks.”
The distance runners recently competed at the University of Washington Invitational, where several historic performances occurred including the women’s distance medley relay school and facility record and Talem Franco’s sub-4 minute mile. Eyestone hopes that the Cougars will return for another weekend of strong performances.
Eyestone noted that many of the runners will be competing in different events. Several of the men will run the 5000 after focusing on the 3000m previously, including Jake Heslington. At the UW Invite, Heslington clocked a 10th-ranked 7:55.21 and will now prepare to run a national-qualifying time in the 5000m. Franco will also be moving up in distance to the 3000m for the first time in his collegiate career. Franco is currently ranked ninth in the country in the men’s mile.
On the women’s side, those that ran the 5000m will now concentrate on the 3000m, including All-American Whittni Orton. This indoor season, Orton has already set new school records in the mile, 5000m and women’s distance medley relay. She is currently ranked second in the mile and third in the 3000m in the NCAA.
“This weekend provides opportunities for athletes to improve on their marks, run some different distances and to give options for those that are close to qualifying for the national meet,” Eyestone said.
The rest of the event groups will travel to Lubbock, Texas, for the Texas Tech Shootout where they will compete on one of the fastest tracks in the country.
“A big group will be going down to Texas for some good competition,” Eyestone said. “This is a great meet because it’s a 200m banked track. Athletes will continue to prepare themselves for the championship meets. We expect strong performances from them and personal bests on the indoor track.”
Eyestone is looking forward to a showing from Michael Bluth and Colten Yardley in the 400m. The Cougars saw success last weekend at the Nike Boise Indoor Invite as Bluth won the men’s 400m and Yardley clocked a personal-best time (47.70).
For the short sprinters, Easton Bianchi and Jaslyn Gardner will also look to improve their marks at the Texas Tech Shootout. This season, Gardner set a school record in the 60m and is currently the highest ranked Cougar in the 60m and 200m.
Another school record breaker, Elise Romney, will be competing in the women’s pole vault with the goal to improve her potential national-qualifying mark. Romney set a school record in the pole vault (4.31m/14-1.75) and earned the No. 12 spot in the NCAA after her performance at the Nike Boise Indoor Invite last weekend.
Follow BYU track and field on Twitter and Instagram @BYUTFXC for team updates. Live results can be found on the BYU track and field schedule page on the day of the meet. The schedule of events and meet information can be found on gohuskies.com and texastech.com.