Joseph Hovey | Posted: 17 Feb 2023 | Updated: 7 Mar 2023

School record falls, conference title count grows for women's track and field

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Women's distance medley relay squad sets school record with Alena Ellsworth, Sadie Sargent, Taylor Rohatinsky and Annalise Hart.
BYU's Cailee Faulkner wins the 2023 women's MPSF pole vault championship. BYU's Jessica Thompson wins the 2023 MPSF women's indoor weight throw championship. Jessica Thompson No. 2 all-time at BYU in the women's weight throw. Marianne Barber No. 5 all-time at BYU in the women's indoor 200-meters. Women's distance medley relay squad sets school record with Alena Ellsworth, Sadie Sargent, Taylor Rohatinsky and Annalise Hart.

PROVO, Utah — No. 23 BYU women’s track and field recorded two conference championships and a school record in the distance medley relay at two meets on Friday.

Taylor Rohatinsky, Annalise Hart, Alena Ellsworth and Sadie Sargent started off “DMR Weekend” with a bang; clocking 10:49.24 to take third at the Arkansas Qualifier and set a school record in the event.

The Cougars entered the day ranked ninth nationally and faced some of the top DMR squads in the nation including host No. 5 Arkansas, No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Kentucky. Oregon broke out to win the relay with a Randal Tyson Track Center record 10:49.07. Arkansas and BYU followed in second and third, respectively. With Sargent at anchor, the Cougars withstood Oklahoma State down the stretch and secured the third-place finish.

BYU’s previous school record of 10:52.96 was also set at Randal Tyson Track Center. The combination of Ellsworth, Olivia Hoj Simister, Lauren Ellsworth Barnes and Courtney Wayment set that record in route to a national title in Fayetteville on March 12, 2021.

The remainder of the BYU women competed at their final Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships at The Podium in Spokane, Washington on Friday. Jessica Thompson and Cailee Faulkner led the Cougars with individual conference titles on day one of the two-day event.

Thompson tossed a personal-record 19.98m/65-6.75 in the women’s weight throw, winning the hardware over Long Beach State’s Malia Talavou (18.93m/59-2).

"Jessica's last few performances showed that there's more distance in her," said BYU throws coach Niklas Arrhenius. "It was exciting for her to make a few technical adjustments from last week."

Thompson has now recorded personal records in consecutive weeks, this one a meter improved over her mark at the Jarvis Scott Open on Feb. 10. The junior from Plains, Montana also jumped to No. 2 all-time at BYU in the women’s weight throw and is now just a meter shy of tying Amy Christiansen Palmer’s school record set in 1998.

Thompson is now BYU’s first women’s thrower to win back-to-back indoor individual conference titles since Christiansen Palmer did son in 1995-96. Thompson took home the MPSF’s women’s shot put title a season ago.

Cailee Faulkner also claimed a conference crown as she cleared 3.94m/12-11 to win the women’s pole vault. The sophomore from Mesa, Arizona successfully defended her 2022 league pole vault title and in so doing became the first BYU women’s athlete to ever win a conference pole vault championship in back-to-back seasons. Faulkner also owns the program record clearance of 4.36m/14-3.75. Rebekah Ross and Maren Garnett followed Faulkner onto the podium, taking second and tying for third, respectively.

Adaobi Tabugbo continued her sprints success on Friday as she qualified for Saturday’s MPSF finals in both the women’s 60-meters and 60-meter hurdles. Emma Johnson joined Tabugbo in advancing to Saturday’s 60 final. Tabugbo will look to repeat as MPSF champion in both events when she returns to the track beginning tomorrow at 10:10 a.m. PST.

Despite finishing short of a conference championship, Marianne Barber wowed once again in the 200-meters. The freshman from Farmington, Utah clocked a personal best for the second straight week, this time to 24.10. With Friday’s performance, Barber surpassed Kirsten Bolm (2000) to stand at No. 5 all-time at BYU in the women’s 200.

The Cougars are back in action in Spokane on Saturday with entries in the women’s mile, shot put and 800-meters among others.

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