Troutner, Witsken shine as home meet concludes
PROVO, Utah — BYU men's and women's track and field concluded its home meet Saturday, highlighted by 11 combined event wins and record-breaking showings from Aidan Troutner and Caleb Witsken.
BYU men’s track and field compiled six event wins Saturday, punctuated by record-breaking performances from Aidan Troutner and Caleb Witsken.
Troutner clocked a 4:01.72 mile to become the national mile leader among all Division I athletes so far this season. His time shattered a 42 year-old Smith Fieldhouse facility record set by BYU legend and two-time Olympian Doug Padilla in 1981.
“To come anywhere even close to that record and then break it is a great accomplishment. Aidan now has one of the top mile times in the nation,” said BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone. “I’m really excited for his effort today. We saw that across all the disciplines with some really good performances. Coming off the break, I couldn’t be more happy with the performances by our team and coaching staff.”
Witsken posted a remarkable performance, vaulting to the top spot nationally among pole vaulters with a clearance of 5.66m/18-6.75. The two-time indoor All-American’s mark was good for No. 3 all-time at BYU and bested his personal record from last year – a 5.55m/18-2.5 clearance.
“That guy works harder than anybody you’ll ever meet,” said BYU pole vault volunteer assistant coach Rick McWhorter about Witsken. “Last year, he didn’t feel the same kind of pressure with Zach [McWhorter] here. Today, he kept his nerve, was calm, and he hit his mark every time. Even with the best clearance in the country today, he’s going to keep going a lot higher.”
Nathan Burnett and Dallin Thornton entered today’s competition ranked in the top-25 nationally for the pole vault at No. 13 and No. 21, respectively. Both set new personal records, with Burnett posting a 5.20m/17-0.75 mark and Thornton finishing with a clearance of 5.08m/16-8.
The distance runners had a productive day with event wins from Lucas Bons, Sebastian Fernandez and Luke Grundvig. Bons clocked a 1:50.11 time to claim a victory in the 800m, putting him at No. 3 nationally. It also marked a new personal best as Bons improved on his prior record of 1:53.76 set in January 2021. Fernandez took the crown in the 400m, crossing the line at 48.50 while Grundvig won his first collegiate meet with an 8:22.87 finish in the 3000m.
With sprinter Easton Bianchi’s top finish in the 200m (21.55), he now moves into the top-5 nationally at No. 4 in the event.
Those who also achieved new personal bests include Abram Schaap (60m), Brandon Garnica (mile) and Eli Hazlett (200m).
BYU women’s track and field totaled five event wins on Saturday. Jaslyn Gardner clocked a time of 24.37 to win the women’s 200m. Albeit 0.14 seconds off her personal best, Gardner moved into No. 7 nationally, surpassing Hawaii’s Alyssa Mae Antolin.
Adaobi Tabugbo finished runner-up to Gardner at 25.12 while Emma Johnson notched a personal best 25.95 to take sixth.
Sami Oblad and Krystie Solomon took first and third, respectively, in the women’s 800m. Oblad’s 2:13.69 puts her in the top-15 nationally, ahead of athletes from Purdue, Tulane and Northeastern. With the addition of Oblad, the Cougars now have six nationally ranked runners in the women’s 800.
BYU filled four of the top-5 spots in the women’s mile with Alissa Fielding taking the race at a personal best 4:56.32. Madi Moffitt also clocked a personal record 4:57.98, finishing second. Natalie Hlusi and Taylor Lovell took fourth and fifth, respectively, both in their first-career collegiate meet.
Though just a freshman, sprinter Marianne Barber flashed her potential as she clocked 7.69 to win the 60m in her BYU-debut meet. Brilee Pontius and Annalise Hart also competed in the 60m, taking fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Cougars commanded the pole vault as well with Cailee Faulkner and Rebekah Ross sharing the win at clearances of 4.08m/13-4.75. Faulkner moves into No. 14 nationally, surpassing Minnesota’s Alexys Berger. Ross remains fourth among Division I women’s pole vaulters with her 4.21m/13-9.75 achieved in December.
BYU track and field now embarks on a series of road trips beginning Jan. 19-21 at Air Force’s Ralph Lindeman Invitational.