Women's track & field break two relay records, secure six more national qualifiers
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — BYU women’s track and field piled up six more national qualifiers, including two record-setting relay teams, during NCAA West Preliminary competition on Saturday at Hornet Stadium.
Meghan Hunter, Claire Seymour, Lexy Halladay-Lowry and Cierra Tidwell Allphin joined the Cougars’ 4x100 and 4x400-meter squads in punching tickets to Austin.
Hunter and Seymour not only booked their own passage to nationals in the 800-meters but helped the 4x400m squad do so again to end the night.
Hunter began the relay, handed to Marianne Barber and then watched as Brilee Pontius and Seymour finished the job. The foursome clocked a school record 3:32.88 to qualify for nationals.
The previous 4x400m school record was set at the West Preliminary two seasons ago in College Station, Texas. Hunter and Seymour contributed to that record as well.
Seymour and Hunter both ran in the third and final heat of the 800m quarterfinal, crossing the finish first and third, respectively, and falling into a celebratory embrace. The two veteran mid-distance specialists punched their tickets to Austin with Seymour clocking 2:04.75 for ninth overall and Hunter 2:05.35 for 13th overall.
Hunter returns to outdoor nationals for the first time since 2021 and makes her debut their in an individual event. 2023 marks Seymour’s third-consecutive trip to the outdoor championship meet.
Adaobi Tabugbo, Jaslyn Gardner, Dolita Shaw and Marianne Barber doubly etched their place in BYU history with their performance in the women’s 4x100m quarterfinals. The quartet clocked a school-record time of 43.84, good for fourth in their heat, 10th overall and the program’s first-ever 4x100m national entry.
Saturday marked the second women’s 4x100m school-record breaking performance this season. Tabugbo, Gardner, Barber and Emma Johnson previously broke it at the Desert Heat Classic on April 29 with a 44.57 finish.
The Cougars faced a loaded heat featuring No. 5 USC, No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 17 Cal and No. 25 Iowa. Shaw and Barber came on strong down the final 200 meters with Barber bursting ahead of Iowa’s anchor to take the heat’s fourth spot from the Hawkeyes as well as finish ahead of squads from Minnesota, Oklahoma and UCLA in the overall results.
“We’ve worked really hard this season and I knew we had it in us to run that fast and go to nationals,” Gardner said. “Today we put the pieces together and got it done.”
Just an hour after sparking the 4x100m squad to national qualifying, Tabugbo again took to the track in the 100-meter hurdles quarterfinal. While unable to advance to Austin, the senior from Laurel, Maryland posted a second personal-best in three days, running 13.29 to further secure her No. 5 all-time spot at BYU.
BYU posted a nation-leading six women’s steeplechase regional entries with Lexy Halladay-Lowry, Sadie Sargent, Allie Warner, Lizzie Dildine, Madi Moffitt and Destiny Everett each competing in the distance event on Saturday.
Halladay-Lowry backed-up her No. 6 national ranking with a national-qualifying finish of 9:46.02. The junior from Boise, Idaho came out of the gun aggressively in the third heat alongside Greta Karinauskaite of Cal Baptist and Arkansas’ runners Laura Taborda and Gracie Hyde. The foursome pulled ahead of the pack and stayed there with Halladay-Lowry finishing comfortably in second after the Lancers’ Karinauskaite. Halladay-Lowry took seventh overall and now makes her second nationals’ appearance in as many seasons.
Despite finishing one spot outside of qualifying, Sargent ran a personal-best 9:57.11 and jumped to No. 8 all-time at BYU.
Cierra Tidwell Allphin opened Saturday’s jumping easily clearing 1.72-meters/5-7.75 before clearing 1.77m/5-9.75 and 1.82m/5-11.5 on her second attempts. Despite going out at 1.85m/6-0.75, Tidwell Allphin jumped sufficient to tie for ninth and qualify for her third-career nationals’ appearance.
“Cierra didn’t have a great jumping day but the west region sure is strong and that last jump of the day was her best,” said BYU jumps coach Mark Robison. “We have to get some more reps in and have a good week of training before nationals.”
The Cougars now look to close the season in style at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas June 7-10.
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