Ben Bluhm | Posted: 15 Feb 2020 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Orton Breaks Third Record, Eight Cougars Crack Top-10 List

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Orton standing arms folded with record text surrounding her

SEATTLE — All-American Whittni Orton broke her third individual school record of the season in the women’s 3000m as eight Cougars moved up the school record boards at the Husky Classic and Texas Tech Shootout this weekend.

BYU track and field athletes competed at three different meets over the weekend. The distance runners raced at the Husky Classic; throwers, jumpers, hurdlers, multis, pole vaulters and sprinters competed at the Texas Tech Shootout; and Zach McWhorter participated in the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships in men’s pole vault.

“I would say mission accomplished at both meets,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We’re extremely pleased with how we performed this weekend. We had outstanding performances from the Ellsworth sisters and Anna Camp-Bennett in the 800m. Whittni continues to be on a tear as she broke the 3000m school record. Extremely proud of her. Outstanding efforts from the 800m women, they were well prepared for their race. On the men’s side, we had good performances all around. Jake Heslington was outstanding in the 5000m to move up to third all-time in program history. Brandon Garnica’s race was very inspiring, he kicked hard at the end and ran an incredible race.”

HUSKY CLASSIC

Orton’s time of 8:49.63 in the women’s 3000m shattered the previous record set by Erica Birk-Jarvis by 11 seconds. This season she also set the 5000m, mile and was a member of the school record DMR (distance medley relay) team. 

“Coming off our cross country season we had some high expectations,” BYU Associate Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Diljeet Taylor said. “We’re capitalizing on her fitness currently. We’re grateful that it’s all coming together for her in the different races that she’s competed in this season.”

Cougar history continued to be rewritten as Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Anna Camp-Bennett and Alena Ellsworth all moved up in the BYU top-10 all-time list in the women’s 800m. Ellsworth-Barnes, previously No. 9 all-time, won the women’s 800m and moved up to No. 6 with a time of 2:05.33. Camp-Bennett moved from No. 10 all-time to No. 7 with a time of 2:05.56 to come in second at the Husky Classic. Ellsworth landed at No. 9 all-time after her 2:05.85 performance that was good for fourth-place at the meet. 

“Anna is having a great season overall,” Taylor said. “All of our women that ran this weekend performed really well. The expectations in the program have risen. We’re seeing people believing in themselves, and the success others are seeing is helping other people continue to succeed.”

The women’s distance squad saw a bevy of personal best times as well. McKenna Lee (9:38.43), Aubrey Frentheway (9:38.57), Amanda Erickson (9:52.82) Rachel Morrin (9:54.34) and Sophie Laswell (9:20.55) all ran personal record times in the women’s 3000m. Meg Babcock also ran a personal record time in the women’s 800m of 2:14.72 and Heather Hanson (4:53.03) ran a personal best in the women’s mile. 

On the men’s side, two athletes reached top-10 times in program history. Senior Jacob Heslington ran a personal-best time of 13:39.05 in the men’s 5000m, good for No. 3 in the Cougar record books. He edged out Conner Mantz by half a second to claim the third spot.

“We could see that coming from Jake,” Eyestone said. “The way he’s been training and preparing himself is deserving of that three spot. His time should qualify him for the national meet. We’re so proud of the work he’s put in this season.”

Also in the men’s 5000m, Brandon Garnica ran a personal best time to land at No. 9 in BYU history with a time of 13:45.69. Garnica shattered his previous record of 14:05.97. 

For the rest of the men’s distance team, personal bests was the theme of the day. Matt Owens (4:01.31) in the mile, Adam Wood (8:18.54) in the 3000m and Garrett Marsing (8:08.10) in the 3000m. 

“We had a great weekend from our men at the Husky Classic. I liked the effort, and I think that paid off in the results we had. We saw a lot of personal best times, and I think we can keep improving and getting better before we get to the national meet.”

TEXAS TECH SHOOTOUT

The Texas Tech Shootout was highlighted by Hannah Nealis and Rickey Fantroy Jr. moving up on the BYU top-10 record list, among many personal best performances.

“We had a great outing by all standards,” Eyestone said. “Hannah and Rickey really, can’t say enough about their performances. For Hannah to get two in one day is special. I was impressed with Conner Kennedy in the long jump, we could see that one coming. I’m pleased with how we did overall, we had so many personal best performances, we’re proud of our team.”

Nealis ran her way onto both the 200m and 400m all-time lists in one meet. Her time of 24.21 in the 200m was a personal best and No. 7 in Cougar history. She also ran a personal best in the 400m to finish at 55.28, good for No. 9 in the BYU record books. 

Fantroy Jr. jumped from No. 9 to No. 7 all-time in men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.50m/50-10.75. The senior team captain also ran 6.86 in the men’s 60m.

The shootout meet was also full of personal records. The men’s 4x400m relay which consisted of Cortez Ruiz, Landon Maxfield, Ransom Allphin and Michael Bluth ran a season-best time of 3:09.47. 

Freshman Lauryn Ford both ran and jumped personal best performances in the long jump and 60m. Her jump of 5.90m/19-4.25 and time of 7.72 marks her continued improvement throughout the season. 

Conner Kennedy also landed a personal-best mark in the long jump, his jump of 7.48m/24-6.5 was good for second place.

“These times and marks are the results of a lot of hard work and determination. I know how hard our athletes work to compete at a high level. I can’t say enough about how they performed this weekend. We’ll be back to work this week to get ready for the meets that we have in the coming weeks.”  

Sprinter Easton Bianchi ran 21.82, good for a personal best time in the men’s 200m.

Elise Romney won the women’s pole vault, one centimeter shy of tying her school-record mark of 4.31m, taking the top spot at 4.30m/14-1.25.

In the women’s weight throw, Sable Lohmeier placed fourth with a toss of 17.12m/56-2. 

USATF INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Zach McWhorter placed 12th in the men’s pole vault at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships on Friday. He vaulted a mark of 5.55m/18-2 ½, close to his personal best of 5.61m.

McWhorter, a freshman, is currently second all-time at BYU in the men’s pole vault and sixth in the nation.

The Cougars return to action on Saturday to compete in the JDL Fast Track meet in North Carolina.

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