Six individual event wins, relays sweep highlights last day at Air Force
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — BYU men's and women's track and field swept the relay races and recorded six individual event wins as the Ralph Lindeman Invitational came to a close at the Air Force Academy on Saturday.
"It's always fun to sweep the 4x400m," said BYU sprints coach Kyle Grossarth. "Those were really good opening races for both squads and I know there will be more to come."
The men tallied event wins either by individuals or squads in five of the day’s six competitions.
Easton Bianchi took first in the 60m after clocking a 6.73 time to finish ahead of runner-up Javin Bostic of Air Force (6.77). This brought the senior just .05 seconds away from matching his personal best.
"Easton came back today, cleaned up some mistakes from yesterday and came home with a solid time and win,” said Grossarth.
Eli Hazlett claimed first overall in the 400m (48.28) among a field of seven, nearly a second ahead of runner-up JD Prinslood of Wichita State. The sophomore from Moab, Utah set a new personal record in yesterday’s preliminary 400m event at 48.17.
"I was happy to see Eli get the win,” said Grossarth. “He has been training really well during the fall and is ready for some big things."
The Cougars placed their three pole vaulters in the top four as Caleb Witsken continued his dominance in the event. The two-time indoor All-American – currently at second nationally in the event – had a solid performance Saturday with a clearance of 5.60m/18-4.50. The mark put the senior more than a foot ahead of runner-up Connor McLean. Nathan Burnett and Dallin Thornton finished third and fourth, respectively.
After finishing first overall in the 200m among a sizeable preliminary field of 34 athletes yesterday, Josh Taylor emerged on top once again with a 21.48 time. The finish netted him another personal best, an additional 0.08 seconds ahead of yesterday’s personal record.
"That time is a good reflection of the work [Josh] has been putting in,” said Grossarth.
Jared Davis (21.71) and Trey Jackson (21.75) rounded out the top three in the 200m as Jackson’s third-place finish became another personal best.
In the men’s 4x400m relay, Jackson anchored a squad that included Landon Maxfield, Josh Taylor and Dallin Draper to finish first overall at 3:13.13. The race was the first relay event of the season for the Cougars and puts the group just a second outside of the top-25 nationally-ranked squads.
To round out Saturday’s events, Treyton Anderson took eighth overall in the 60m hurdle finals (8.47).
Adaobi Tabugbo clocked a personal-best 8.30 to win the women’s 60m hurdles over runner-up Avery McMullen (8.39) of Colorado. McMullen entered the weekend ranked No. 24 nationally. Tabugbo is now three hundredths of a second off a top-25 spot.
"Adaobi ran really well today," Grossarth said. "I'm really excited about her trajectory."
With her performance on Saturday, the junior from Laurel, Maryland reached her latest rung on her ascent up the program’s 60m hurdles top-10 board. At 8.30, Tabugbo surpassed Miriam Fisher (2004) for No. 5 all-time at BYU. Amy Menlove Otis ranks ahead of Tabugbo at No. 4 with an 8.24 finish in 2009.
BYU’s sprints success continued as Sami Oblad registered a personal-best and a win in the women’s 400m final. Oblad clocked in at 55.78, improving from 56.16 on Friday. The junior from Stansbury Park, Utah defeated second-place finisher Taylor Rioux of Air Force by 1.37 seconds.
"That was a breakthrough for Sami in the 400," Grossarth said. "All of her hard work is paying off."
Oblad appeared again in the women’s 4x400m relay, anchoring the squad of Brilee Pontius, Annalise Hart and Marianne Barber to a victory at 3:47.51. The Cougars came in over eight seconds ahead of runner-up Sacramento State, and this in just their first relay race of the season.
Though just a freshman, Barber not only starred in the penultimate relay lap, but finished third in the women’s 200m final with a personal-best 24.60. Hart and Pontius recorded personal-bests as well at 24.61 and 24.72, respectively.
The Cougars’ lone field event of the day came in high jump. There, Cierra Tidwell Allphin took third with a 1.73m/5-8 clearance. Tidwell Allphin’s season-best 1.84m/6-0.5 has her tied for No. 6 nationally with Alex Porpaczy of Arizona.
BYU remains on the road next week as it travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Razorback Invitational Jan. 27-28.