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Natalie Lopez | Posted: 25 Jan 2020 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Natalie Lopez

Orton breaks school record at Dr. Sander Invitational

Whitni running, school record in the mile 4:29.76

NEW YORK – All-American Whittni Orton shattered BYU’s indoor all-time record in the mile by nearly five seconds, clocking a time of 4:29.76 and earning the top mark in the NCAA at the Dr. Sander Invitational on Saturday.

“We accomplished a lot of what we wanted to at this meet,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “One of the main reasons we travel to New York is to get a big meet experience. It helps to prepare us for later on in the season. We were rewarded with some outstanding performances, highlighted of course by Whittni Orton’s school record in the mile.”

Orton broke the indoor mile record (4:29.76) on her way to placing second in the women’s mile invitational. With her time, Orton currently holds the NCAA-leading mark in the women’s mile. She crossed the line right after professional Adidas runner Nikki Hiltz. Orton’s time of 4:29.76 broke the previous record of 4:34.59 set by Erica Birk-Jarvis in 2019. This is Orton’s second all-time record of the 2020 indoor season. She also holds the record in the indoor 5000m (15:22.98). 

“Whittni had a great race in the invitational section with professionals,” Eyestone said. “She ran the 13th-fastest indoor time ever by a collegiate woman runner, which is outstanding.”

Zach McWhorter won the men’s pole vault and improved his No. 2 mark on the BYU all-time record board after clearing 5.61m/18-04.75. This marks the third time the freshman has climbed the record board this season. Anna Camp-Bennett also landed a spot on the school’s indoor record board with the No. 10 all-time in the women’s 800m (2:06.71). 

“Zach won the meet  with his opening clearance,” Eyestone said. “No one else was able to beat it. By his third attempt, he was jumping for the school record.”

In his debut 800m, Michael Bluth took first overall and clocked a 1:50.63. Talem Franco finished next for the Cougars in fifth place with a time of 1:51.27. Lauren Ellsworth ran a 2:08.52 in the women’s 800m to place eighth overall. 

Several BYU athletes earned career-best marks in their events. McKenna Lee took fourth in the women’s college mile with a personal-best time of 4:51.41. Colten Yardley ran 21.77 in the men’s 200m for his third personal record of the 2020 season. Freshman Annalise Hart earned a career-best mark of 11.72m/38-5.50 in the triple jump. Talin Mortensen’s personal best in the shot put launched 15.24m/50-0. 

The women’s 4x400m ran 3:45.36 for a season-best mark, while the men’s 4x400m finished second overall with a time of 3:12.46. 

Three Cougars competed in the men’s heptathlon and finished competition on Friday, all placing in the top four. Brian Matthews took first overall with 5320 points. Dallin Vorkink finished third (5073 points) and Caleb Witsken followed in fourth (5042 points). Vokink’s performance was headlined by a career-high mark in the pole vault as he cleared 4.65m/15-3.00. Witsken finished with a personal best in the 1000m (3:00.33). 

BYU track and field will compete next at the UW Invite in Seattle, Washington. The meet will begin on Friday, Jan. 31 and conclude Saturday, Feb. 1. 

Official results from the Dr. Sander Invitational can be found here.


Ben Bluhm | Posted: 22 Jan 2020 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020
Ben Bluhm

Cougars Head East to Compete at Dr. Sander Invite

Runner in prep position about to sprint

PROVO, Utah — The BYU track & field team heads east to compete at the Dr. Sander Invitational against some of the nation’s top squads on Thursday.

Among the field are No. 8 South Carolina (women) No. 14/23 UCLA (men’s/women’s), Ohio State, Penn State, Duke, Syracuse, UConn and many schools from the Ivy League. 

The Cougars are coming off a win for the women and a second-place finish for the men at the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs this past weekend. The women also are coming off a win against regional foe, 12th-ranked Colorado.

The women’s team features multiple athletes that are nationally ranked. Whittni Orton is currently third in the country in the women’s 1500m after breaking the school record earlier in the season with a time of 15:22.98.

Jaslyn Gardner, the school-record holder in the women’s 60m dash, is ranked 26th in the country with her school-record time of 7.39. Claire Seymour (1:14.82) is currently 21st in the 500m and freshman Cierra Tidwell (1.76m) is currently 12th in the high jump. No. 7 on the BYU all-time list Sierra Freeland (15.28m) comes in at 33 in the women’s shot put as well.

On the men’s side, multi-event heptathlete Brian Matthews (5,581 points) currently sits at No. 2 in the nation in the heptathlon. Matthews also is fourth all-time at BYU in the heptathlon. Cougar heptathletes Caleb Witsken (5,183) and Dallin Vorkink (5,098) are also in the top-25 in the country at No. 16 and 19, respectively.

Freshman Zach McWhorter (5.55m) is ranked fourth in the country in the men’s pole vault and second all-time at BYU. Teammate Alex Rios (5.27m) is currently No. 14 nationally in the pole vault as well.

Other nationally ranked individuals are senior team captain Rickey Fantroy Jr. (15.44m) at No. 30 in the men’s triple jump, Michael Bluth at No. 6 (33.35) in the 300m and Colten Yardley (33.55) at No. 12 in the 300m.

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 gocolumbialions.com