Witsken leads BYU men in day one at Razorback Invitational
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — No. 7/No. 20 BYU men’s and women’s track and field opened the Razorback Invitational against some of the nation’s best at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Friday.
Caleb Witsken starred Friday with a second-place finish in the pole vault as the men’s team squared off against eight nationally ranked schools in the heptathlon, pole vault and 200-meters.
Currently No. 2 in the country, Witsken competed with five fellow top-25 pole vaulters and took home second with a clearance of 5.55m/17-6.5. Only Kentucky’s third-ranked Keaton Daniel finished higher. Witsken’s performance placed him ahead of two athletes from No. 1 Stanford – Garrett Brown and Max Manson. Brown and Manson are individually ranked No. 14 and No. 16 in the country, respectively.
Easton Bianchi took 14th in the 200m that included a field of seven top-25 competitors, crossing the line just 0.07 seconds short of his personal record at 21.24. The senior finished ahead of No. 4 Kentucky's 22nd-ranked Jordan Anthony and Baylor’s No. 23 Ricquan Graham. Jared Davis (26th-place) and Dallin Draper (33rd-place) rounded out the Cougars’ entries in the event with times of 21.73 and 22.00.
Multi-athlete Ben Barton achieved a series of new personal bests, setting a new benchmark in three of the four heptathlon events on the day – the 60-meter dash, long jump and shot put. The sophomore’s best placement among competition came in the high jump at fourth overall with a clearance of 1.98m/6-6, good for 10 spots ahead of nationally ranked heptathlete Thai Thompson (No. 10) of Iowa State.
With four of the seven heptathlon events complete, Barton stands at seventh and Dallin Vorkink at 12th overall.
Cierra Tidwell Allphin cleared 1.78m/5-10 to finish fourth in the women’s high jump, ahead of athletes form LSU and No. 18 Oklahoma State. Tidwell Allphin is ranked seventh nationally at 1.84m/6-0.5 and faced two other ranked jumpers in Bara Sajdokova of No. 12 Texas A&M and Sydney Billington of No. 11 Arkansas. Sajdokova and Billington tied for second with Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin taking first at a nation-leading 1.90m/6-2.75.
Taylor Rohatinsky, Annalise Hart, Alena Ellsworth and Sadie Sargent combined to take fifth in the women’s distance medley relay at 10:57.60. The Cougars finished two-hundredths of a second behind Florida and nearly a second ahead of the Kentucky squad.
Jaslyn Gardner represented BYU in the 19-heat women’s 200m. Gardner clocked 24.43, two-tenths of a second off her personal-best set in January 2021. The senior from Enterprise, Utah came in 35th in a challenging field that included nationally ranked sprinters form No. 3 Kentucky, No. 5 Florida and No. 7 USC.
Jessica Thompson competed in the shot put with a mark of 14.42m/47-3.75. Thompson finished 13th while facing two flights that included the nation’s third-ranked shot put thrower in Jasmine Mitchell of No. 13 Ole Miss.
Competition will resume Saturday, with men's events beginning at 10:15 a.m. CST and women's at 12:45 p.m. CST. A live stream hosted by the SEC Network+ will cover a portion of the day's events starting at 11:00 a.m. CST.
Track and field travels to Razorback Invitational
PROVO, Utah — BYU men's and women's track and field hits the road again as it travels to the Razorback Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas Jan. 27-28.
Schedule (all times CST):
- Friday's events begin with heptathlon 60-meter dash at 11:45 a.m. and conclude with the women's distance medley relay at 7:15 p.m.
- Saturday's events begin with heptathlon 60m hurdles at 10:15 a.m. and conclude with the women's 4x400-meter relay at 4:30 p.m.
Live Stream (SEC Network+) - begins at 6 p.m. CST (Friday) and 11 a.m. CST (Saturday)
|2023 Razorback Invitational Teams
|*NR/No. 11 Arkansas
|No. 7/No. 20 BYU
|No. 12 /No. 5 Florida
|No. 3/NR Florida State
|No. 9/NR Iowa State
|No.4/No. 3 Kentucky
|No. 20/No. 18 Oklahoma State
|No. 5/No. 13 Ole Miss
|Oregon State (women)
|No. 1/No. 16 Stanford
|NR/No. 12 Texas A&M
|No. 11/No. 7 USC
*Men's ranking/Women's ranking
BYU men's track and field debuted in the USTFCCCA Indoor National Rating Index at No. 7. The Cougars are one of five current or future Big 12 teams in the men's rankings, with only Texas Tech ranked higher at No. 2. The BYU women came in at 20th in the opening ranking, joining Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma among future Big 12 counterparts.
BYU women’s track and field boasts three top-10 ranked distance runners. Heather Hanson’s 4:39.66 mile time, set at the Boston Season Opener on Dec. 3, holds at No. 5 nationally. Hanson ranks ahead of Alabama’s Jami Reed and Emma McGill of Villanova.
Alena Ellsworth sits at seventh nationally with an 800-meter time of 2:06.40 set in Boston. Ellsworth is followed close behind by Alli Bookin-Nosbisch of Iowa and Ayoola Gbolade of North Carolina A&T.
Lexy Halladay-Lowry remains ninth in the women’s 3,000-meters at 9:04.76, nearly four seconds ahead of 10th-place Anna Gibson of Washington.
Casey Clinger leads six nationally-ranked BYU men’s runners. Clinger’s 13:17.36 in the 5000-meters puts him at sixth, over a second ahead of Harvard’s Graham Blanks. Joey Nokes (18th), Christian Allen (20th), Brandon Garnica (22nd) and Davin Thompson (24th) join Clinger in the 5000m top-25. Kenneth Rooks is ranked 19th in the men’s 3000m at 8:04.61.