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

Cougars host BYU Indoor Invitational

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Brinn Jensen sprinting

PROVO, Utah  – The BYU track and field team is set to host the BYU Indoor Invitational starting on Thursday, Jan. 9, in the Smith Fieldhouse. Events will continue through Saturday, Jan. 11. 

The three-day meet will include athletes from UVU, Southern Utah, Utah State and Westminster.

Following the BYU Intrasquad meet in December, this is the Cougars’ first meet of 2020 and the second meet of the indoor track and field season. 

“This is going to be a great meet because it’s the first one that counts in terms of qualifying for nationals and getting school records or top-10 marks,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We had some phenomenal performances at the intrasquad meet when the team was not in uniform. We’re excited to see all those that performed there, compete again this weekend.”

Eyestone is looking forward to freshman Zach McWhorter’s collegiate track and field debut in the pole vault. McWhorter was ranked the No. 12 pole vaulter in the nation during the 2016-2017 high school season. After jumping 5.70m/18-7 at the Intrasquad meet, he’s hoping to match that mark to equal a school record or possibly surpass it. 

Elise Romney is also anticipated to deliver a strong performance in the pole vault. Last season, Romney cleared a career-high 4.17m/13-8.25 and competed in the 2019 MPSF Indoor Championships. 

After a standout freshman year last season, Eyestone is excited to see Jaslyn Gardner compete in this weekend’s meet. Gardner earned career-bests in the 60m (7.51) and 300m (41.15) at the 2019 BYU Indoor Invite. She also holds the BYU record in the 100m with a time of 11.38.

Returning for his second season with BYU, Eyestone is ready to watch sprinter Michael Bluth race. At last year’s BYU Indoor Invite, Bluth ran career-best times of 6.91 in the 60m and 1:03.65 in the 500m. Bluth earned the MPSF Individual Champion title in the 400m after clocking 46.58 for the second-fastest 400m in school history. Bluth ran on the 4x400m team that qualified for the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships and will also return for the 2020 season.

Following a historic cross country season, men’s distance runners will be competing in the 3000m, led by Jacob Heslington. Last season, Heslington took second place in the 5000m at the MPSF Indoor Championships with a season-best 13:58.00. He was also named a second-team All-American in the 3000m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. 

Three other athletes that Eyestone is looking forward to watching are Rickey Fantroy Jr., Sierra Freeland and Talem Franco. Fantroy received All-America Honorable Mention after competing in the triple jump at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He earned his qualifying spot with the No. 8 all-time mark in school history (15.55m/51-0.25). Eyestone is excited to see Freeland compete at a new high level in the shot put. Franco, who normally races in the mile or 1500m, will bring a strong showing in the 800m. 

This home meet gives the athletes the chance to compete in their respective events while also working towards earning spots on the traveling team for the upcoming away meets. 

“This meet is a nice launching point for the rest of the indoor season following the winter break," Eyestone said. “Most have only been back in Provo for a week or less. They’re trying to demonstrate that they were training over the break and are regaining some fitness coming back.”

For a full schedule of events at the Indoor Invitational click here. Admission to the event is free. Follow BYU track and field on Twitter and Instagram @BYUTFXC for updates and click here for live stats.

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