Trevor Jones | Posted: 25 Mar 2023 | Updated: 16 Apr 2023

Pole vaulters shine at Aztec Invitational

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Nathan Burnett Pole Vault

SAN DIEGO – BYU men’s track and field competed at San Diego State’s Aztec Invitational Saturday, with a strong showing from the pole vaulters.

Returning 2022 Outdoor All-American Caleb Witsken took second in the pole vault, posting a clearance of 5.45m/17-10.5. With the mark, Witsken is now No. 2 in the nation among all NCAA Division I pole vaulters so far in the outdoor season. 

The Cougars’ success in the pole vault didn’t stop with Witsken, as Nathan Burnett posted a new personal-best, 5.15m/16-10.75 clearance to finish fourth. Both Burnett and Witsken finished ahead of two Outdoor All-Americans from last year – South Dakota’s Eerik Haamer and Washington’s Jacob Englar (seventh-place tie). Ben Barton also competed, recording a personal record as he cleared the bar at 4.35m/14-3.25.

“Considering we’ve yet to practice outdoors due to weather, I thought our squad did amazing,” BYU men’s track and field pole vault coach Rick McWhorter said. “Caleb and Nathan jumped regional qualifying marks while Ben Barton had a double PR in the pole vault which will improve his chances of making it to nationals in the decathlon. Overall, it was an excellent day.”

On top of the pole vault, Barton notched personal-bests in two more events Saturday: the 110-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash. His 14.39 time in the 110m hurdles was good for ninth overall in a race that included nationally-ranked, No. 2 Ethan Exilhomme of Northeastern who finished first. Barton’s time of 10.68 in the 100m beat his previous best by 0.34 seconds. Both prior personal records were set in April 2019.

BYU jumps, throws, sprints and hurdles next head to the 95th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas March 29-April 1. Men's distance will return to action March 31-April 1 at the Stanford Invitational.

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