Dempsey Indoor Track Arena
3800 Montlake Blvd Seattle WA 98105
BYU men win conference title, several women rewrite history
SEATTLE — BYU men’s track and field won the 2020 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships as several athletes moved up the record boards at the University of Washington Dempsey Indoor Center on Saturday.
“What a great effort from the team,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “That’s the cool thing about being in such a deep conference, we get to compete against some of the best athletes in the country. It was exciting to watch Rickey win the triple jump, as well as watching Talem get a personal-best time in the 800. I think our athletes came together and got to see how much of a team sport track and field truly is. I’m glad that our guys are able to celebrate this conference championship.”
The Cougars won the meet with 80 points, narrowly edging second-place Arizona who had 76. The top eight finishers in each event are able to score points that their team accumulates throughout the meet.
Brandon Garnica won the men's 5000m with a time of 13:52.92 and Connor Weaver came in seventh with a time of 14:05.69. Talem Franco took first in the men’s 800m with a personal-best time of 1:49.89.
Team captain Rickey Fantroy Jr. won the men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.50m/50.8, edging out the second-place jumper by a single centimeter.
Michael Bluth won the men’s 400m with a season-best time of 46.66. Matt Owens took third in the mile with a time of 4:01.42.
“What an athlete that Mike Bluth is, what a testament of his work ethic and grit to win the 400. Brandon was huge in the 5000 holding off the pack, and we had great efforts from many of our guys in different events.”
Freshman pole vaulter Zach McWhorter placed third in the men’s pole vault with a mark of 5.32m/17-5.50.
In the men’s 3000m, Jacob Heslington took fifth with a time of 8:03.64 and Garrett Marsing earned a personal-best time of 8:06.89.
The men’s DMR (distance medley relay) team, which consisted of Garrett Marsing, Blake Ellis, Talem Franco and Jacob Heslington finished in third with a time of 9:45.50.
Senior hurdler Jesus Serrano ran 8.04 in the men’s 60m hurdles to qualify for the finals and placed sixth in the finals with a time of 8.05. Derek Sorensen also scored for BYU in eighth place in the men’s 200m with a time of 21.82.
Heptathletes Dallin Vorkink and Caleb Witsken both threw for personal-best marks in the men's heptathlon shot put with marks of 13.24m/43.43 and 13.21m/43.33, respectively. They also placed second and third, respectively. Brian Matthews finished sixth overall (5,308) in the heptathlon and Vorkink took eighth (5,195).
On the women’s side, All-American Anna Camp-Bennett had a historic day with two moves up the BYU record boards. She is now No. 4 in the women’s mile with a personal-best time of 4:38.54 and No. 5 in the women’s 800m with a time of 2:04.19.
“Anna had an outstanding day,” Eyestone said. “We had incredible performances from our women’s team in the Ellsworth sisters, Sophie Lasswell, Elise Romney and so many others. These girls are rewriting BYU history.”
Also in the women’s 800m, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes moved up to No. 6 in BYU history with a time of 2:04.79. Her sister, Alena Ellsworth, is now No. 10 all-time in the women’s 400m with a time of 55.58, an indoor personal-best.
Sophie Lasswell ran a PR in the women's 5000m of 16:14.85 to place third, which was good for No. 7 all-time in BYU history. Teammates Aubrey Frentheway placed seventh with a time of 16:34.85 Haley Johnston ran a personal-best to place eighth with a time of 16:34.86.
Senior Elise Romney (4.10m/13.45) placed second overall in the women’s pole vault. Isabel Neal vaulted a season-best 3.85m/12.63 en route to a sixth-place finish.
Multi-event athlete Halley Folsom had a career day in the women’s pentathlon, earning several personal-bests en route to a sixth-place finish. Her 3,661 point total was a career-best, as well as her 11.88m38.11 shot put toss and a personal-record 9.24 in the 60m hurdles. Folsom also finished second in the 800m portion of the pentathlon with a time of 2:18.24.
In the women’s shot put, Sierra Freeland grabbed sixth with a mark of 14.96m/49.1. Sable Lohmeier placed 11th out of 30 athletes in the women’s weight throw, dropping a mark of 16.70m/54.79.
High jumping freshman Cierra Tidwell placed seventh overall for the Cougars with a mark of 1.66m/5.4 in her MPSF Championship debut. Fellow freshman Lauryn Ford placed eighth in the women’s long jump with a mark of 5.63m/18’-4.7” to score for her team.
The Cougars will conclude their 2020 indoor campaign at the NCAA Indoor National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 13-14.
Cougars set goals for MPSF Championships
PROVO, Utah – The BYU track and field team returns to Seattle to begin the championship portion of the season at the 2020 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. The meet will begin Friday, Feb. 28 and wrap up on Saturday, Feb. 29.
“This weekend we have a two-fold mission – to put our potential-qualifying athletes in the best possible events to prepare them for nationals and for those that have not yet qualified to be in a position to earn season bests,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said.
The No. 9-ranked BYU women’s team will compete against 21 teams, headlined by No. 4 USC, No. 7 Oregon, No. 8 Stanford, No. 10 Washington, No. 13 Colorado and No. 19 UCLA. The men’s track and field team will face 14 opponents including No. 5 Oregon and No. 12 USC.
The top-27 athletes from both teams gear up to compete at the MPSF Championships with several goals across the board. Eyestone noted that the first team goal set by the BYU coaches is for the Cougars to earn season-best marks.
“We’re taking our top-27 men and top 27-women with the goal of scoring as many points as we can, but also earning as many season bests as possible,” Eyestone explained. “Each group input their forecasts for the number of season bests they can earn. We will work for that over the two-day competition.”
BYU’s second focus is for those athletes that have earned strong potential-qualifying spots to compete in different events that will best prepare them for the national meet in two weeks. For example, All-American Whittni Orton and Talem Franco will both race in the 800m for the first time this season.
Orton currently leads the nation in the 3000m with a time of 8:49.63, along with ranking No. 2 in the mile and No. 4 in the 5000m. Franco holds the No. 12 spot in the mile and is a crucial leg of the sixth-fastest distance medley relay in the country (9:30.28). Franco will be competing in the 800m as speed training.
The MPSF meet will also provide another chance for Cougars that are close to earning national-qualifying times to finish higher.
“We’ll try to give opportunities for those that are on the bubble to qualify,” Eyestone said. “That includes Michael Bluth in the 400m, Brandon Garnica in 5000m and Jake Heslington in the 3000m. That’s another excellent mission for this weekend.”
Bluth ran a season-best 46.79 in the 400m at the Nike Boise Invite and currently leads the Cougars in the 400m. Heslington currently sits at No. 23 in the 3000m (7:55.21) and Garnica is barely outside the bubble at No. 19 in the 5000m after running a personal-best time of 13:45.69.
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 mpsports.org.