Seymour leads four First Team All-Americans on final day in Austin
AUSTIN, Texas — No. 19 BYU women’s track and field added four more First Team All-Americans to its vaunted history as the season wound to a close at the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Saturday night.
Claire Seymour and Meghan Hunter took First Team All-American in the 800-meters, Lexy Halladay-Lowry did so in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Cierra Tidwell Allphin added another in the high jump.
Seymour ran 2:00.55 and Hunter 2:04.05 as the Cougar mid-distance tandem finished third and eighth, respectively, in the 800m. Michaela Rose of LSU and Stanford’s Roisin Willis took the race out fast, with Rose going on to win. Seymour and Oklahoma State’s Gabija Galvydyte closed late to cross second and third.
"I felt great," Seymour said. "It was a little windy on the backstretch. The hard thing about the 800 meters is that it's deep. There's so many talented and incredible women out in that field. Honestly, it's an honor to race with them."
Despite falling to the back early, Hunter flexed her resilience and gave one more push for the podium as she eclipsed Boston College’s Katherine Mitchell and finished eighth.
Seymour’s time was good for a career-best across both indoor and outdoor nationals. The senior from Modesto, California’s bronze medal finish is BYU’s best since Shea Martinez Collinsworth did so in 2016. With First Team honors on Saturday, Seymour joins Martinez Collinsworth as the only other BYU woman to record three or more career 800m outdoor All-American honors.
Seymour also joins Whittni Orton (2017-21), Martinez Collinsworth (2014-17) and Maria Betioli Zanandrea (1979-82) as the only four BYU women to collect seven or more career track and field All-American honors.
Hunter takes home her first-career All-American honor in an individual event and does so just four years removed from suffering shattered neck vertebrae in a car accident prior to her freshman season.
"It was a hard race," Hunter said. "I was thinking a lot during the whole thing that I just needed to catch one and get that All-American. It was quite a gap [near the end], but I knew I was going to be happy if I gave it my all. That's what I did."
With Seymour and Hunter in Saturday’s 800m final, BYU saw its first-ever outdoor nationals with two women in the mid-distance championship race.
Halladay-Lowry ran a personal-best 9:41.85 to finish fourth in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase final. Collegiate leader Greta Karinauskaite of Cal Baptist took the race out fast, separating herself early with Notre Dame’s Olivia Markezich close behind. Halladay-Lowry headed up a tightly packed group vying for bronze running stride for stride with Kaylee Mitchell and Grace Fetherstonhaugh of Oregon State, Ceili McCabe of West Virginia and New Mexico’s Elise Thorner.
While McCabe pulled ahead of Halladay-Lowry for third, the BYU steeplechaser surged past Thorner and the Oregon State duo to cross fourth. The Irish’s Markezich won the title at 9:25.03 with Karinauskaite in second.
“I went in to just get the job done and get an All-American award, that’s all I wanted,” Halladay-Lowry said. “Coach Taylor gave me a plan and I ran exactly that. I knew this was in me if I wanted it, I just had to race smart.”
With her performance on Saturday, Halladay-Lowry seized her first-career outdoor First Team All-American honors. A season ago, Halladay-Lowry finished 23rd in the 3,000m steeplechase at 10:31.38. The 2022-23 season also saw the junior from Boise, Idaho garner cross country All-American honors along with a Second Team spot in the indoor 3,000m.
Tidwell Allphin recorded a career-best nationals’ performance in her third appearance with a height of 1.84-meters/6-0.5 and a seventh-place finish. The junior from Gilbert, Arizona held on to First Team All-American position over three jumpers who recorded personal bests on Saturday, including Taylor Beard of Cincinnati and Grace Campbell of Arizona State.
"She jumped very well," said BYU associate head coach Mark Robison. "This is the best she's performed at a national meet. I'm very pleased with her."
Tidwell Allphin now has five-career All-American citations and posted BYU’s best women’s outdoor high jump national finish since Ada Robinson took fifth in 2009.
As a team, the Cougars scored 14 points to finish the meet and season tied for 17th with Virginia and Ball State. Stanford, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Auburn and Alabama are among the teams that follow BYU in rounding out the final top-25.
The Cougars have now posted four-consecutive top-25 finishes at outdoor nationals and five since 2012.
The conclusion of the 2023 season ends and era for BYU women’s track and field. After 12 seasons of competing in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation during indoor season and as an Independent in outdoor season, the Cougars will take to the track in December 2023 as members of the Big 12 Conference.
Big 12-bound BYU cross country will return in September 2023.