Sat Feb 18 TBA
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation

Trevor Jones | Posted: 18 Feb 2023 | Updated: 10 Mar 2023
Trevor Jones

Atop The Podium: MPSF Title and DMR school-record in the books

BYU men win 2023 MPSF Championship
BYU DMR team sets school record Feb. 18 Danny Bryant - MPSF Champion Brandon Garnica - MPSF Champion Luke Grundvig - MPSF Champion Ben Barton - MPSF Champion 4x400 MPSF Champions Ben Barton Hep. No. 2 all-time Ben Barton 60H No. 2 all-time

PROVO, Utah -- BYU men’s track and field completed its final Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship weekend as the men took home the team title (163 points) after Saturday’s four individual championships and a 4x400 victory at The Podium in Spokane, Washington. Four Cougars also competed at Notre Dame, crushing an 11 year-old school record in the distance medley relay.

Photo Credit: James Snook, Spokane Sports

The day began with a bang in South Bend, Indiana as the distance medley relay team ran 9:21.18 to beat the prior BYU record by nearly eight seconds at the Alex Wilson Invitational. The squad -- Casey Clinger, Kenneth Rooks, Sebastian Fernandez and Josh Taylor -- finished fifth overall in a tightly contested field, placing just 1.19 seconds behind first-place Wisconsin.

Of the 18 schools participating in the DMR, four were ranked in the top-25. BYU’s squad finished ahead of each of those schools’ teams, including No. 5 Tennessee and No. 11 Texas A&M.

“All four of them did a super job,” BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone said. “It just really came down to keeping their form and keepings things together through every leg. We carried our momentum. The mile is tough to lead from wire to wire, but I thought Casey knew exactly what he needed to do and closed strong.”

The majority of the men’s team was in Spokane, Washington Saturday as the MPSF championships wrapped up. In total, the men tallied six individual conference titles and two squad championships (DMR, 4x400m) for the weekend, including two top-10 marks for Ben Barton.

Barton finished atop the heptathlon with 5,693 points to surpass Curtis Pugsley for No. 2 all-time at BYU. The total bested his previous No. 6 all-time tally of 5,525 set last month in Arkansas and puts him within four spots of a qualifying national score entering Saturday. In the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles, he finished with a 7.98 time to tie for No. 10 in school history for the event.

“Barton was impressive today,” Eyestone said. “To be second all-time shows how he has harnessed his energies and got the job done.”

With Danny Bryant’s 17.20m/56-5.75 shot put heave, he became the first BYU thrower to win consecutive indoor conference shot put titles since Leif Arrhenius claimed three straight between 2009 and 2011.

Garnica won the mile crossing the line first with a personal record 4:08.54. The victory marked his second conference championship of the weekend after being a part of the DMR’s first-place finish yesterday. Luke Grundvig led all entries in the 3,000-meters at 8:23.71, marking his first indoor championship and the second straight year a Cougar has taken home the 3000m title.

Wrapping up the conference winners is the 4x400-meter relay of Jared Davis, Jace Jensen, Landon Maxfield and Abram Schaap. Posting a 3:09.42 time was good for one second ahead of runner-up Cal St. Fullerton and just under four seconds away from the 4x400 school record set last week in Lubbock, Texas.

“Moving into the Big 12 next year, I felt it was important for us to finish off conference championships in style with a victory," Eyestone said. "It shows what we can do when we all work together. From here on out the focus will be on our national qualifiers.”

The Cougars are back in action next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24-25, once again spread out with athletes at Washington and BYU’s third indoor home meet of the season.