Joseph Hovey | Posted: 8 Jun 2023 | Updated: 26 Jun 2023

Together again: Seymour and Hunter advance to 800-meter final as outdoor nationals continue

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Claire Seymour and Meghan Hunter hug after both advance to 800m semifinal
Adaobi Tabugbo runs at 2023 NCAA Outdoor National Championships Lexy Halladay competes in steeplechase at 2023 NCAA Outdoor Nationals Lexy Halladay Lowry competes in steeplechase at 2023 NCAA Outdoor Nationals Lexy Halladay Lowry competes in steeplechase at 2023 NCAA Outdoor Nationals Women's 4x100m Relay Squad Marianne Barber runs at 2023 NCAA Outdoor Championships Claire Seymour races in 800m semifinals at NCAA Outdoor Nationals Meghan Hunter before start of 800m semifinals at NCAA Outdoor Nationals Claire Seymour and Meghan Hunter after 800m semifinals Aubrey Frentheway races at 2023 NCAA Outdoor Nationals Sami Oblad and Marianne Barber before start of 4x400m relay Dolita Shaw races during 4x400m relay at NCAA Outdoor Nationals Brilee Pontius races for 4x400m Relay at 2023 NCAA Outdoor Nationals Women's 4x400m Relay Squad

AUSTIN, Texas — No. 19 BYU women’s track and field saw three athletes advance to Saturday finals and two post Second Team All-American finishes as women’s competition opened at the 2023 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Thursday night.

Claire Seymour and Meghan Hunter picked up where they left off at the west preliminary as the BYU duo finished together once again, this time to advance to the national women’s 800-meter final. Seymour and Hunter each advanced by holding off Imogen Barrett of Florida and Carley Thomas of Washington for time qualifying spots.

"They each had great race plans and executed them well to reach the finals," said BYU women's distance coach Diljeet Taylor. "It was a big day for BYU middle distance." 

Seymour took fourth in the semifinal at 2:01.24 while Hunter clocked a personal-best 2:01.53 to take fifth. Hunter fell to the back of the pack early in the third heat but surged into fifth with a strong finish down the final 200 meters.

Hunter fell to the back of the pack early in the third heat before surging hard in the final 200 meters to take time qualifying at 2:01.53 and a fifth-place finish.

"I went into the race just trying to have fun," Hunter said. "I knew if I just had fun and put forth my best effort, I could do it." 

The junior from Provo, Utah now ranks fifth all-time at BYU in the women’s outdoor 800m. With her comeback performance on Thursday, Hunter advances to her first-career national final. Seymour has now qualified for her second-career outdoor 800m national final.

Hunter and Seymour will vie for the 800m national title on Saturday at 9:14 p.m. CDT.

Lexy Halladay-Lowry ran a collegiate-meet best of 9:42.35 to take third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinal. Halladay-Lowry set her overall collegiate career-best of 9:42.12 at the professional Sound Running Track Fest on May 6.

The junior from Boise, Idaho pulled to the front of the pack from the start of the second heat and stayed there to the finish, crossing just behind Notre Dame’s Olivia Markezich and national leader Greta Karinauskaite of Cal Baptist.

"Lexy perfectly executed her race plan," Taylor said. "She smoothly advanced to the final and I'm excited to see what she can do on Saturday." 

Halladay-Lowry now advances to her first-career national steeplechase final on Saturday at 8:24 p.m. CDT. Former BYU harrier Courtney Wayment won the 2022 women’s steeplechase championship. A national title for Halladay-Lowry on Saturday would give the Cougars their fifth all-time title in the event and become the third time in program history to win it in back-to-back seasons.

Aubrey Frentheway took 10th in the 10,000-meters final to earn Second Team All-America honors with a time of 33:45.29. Frentheway fell out of the front pack midway through the race and ran alone for much of the last eight laps. The senior from Cheyenne, Wyoming dug deep down the home stretch and closed at 1:20.17 to seize her top-10 spot.

"I'm so proud of her effort in a competitive race," Taylor said. "She put herself in the race and she's walking away satisfied with the culmination of the season." 

Despite falling short of first team accolades, Frentheway improved on her 22nd-place finish from a season ago and registered BYU’s first top-10 women’s 10,000m finisher since Cecily Lemmon-Lew in 2009. Frentheway is one of just six BYU women all-time to finish top-10 in the event.

Ashton Riner-Lunt fell short of defending her 2022 women’s javelin national title but still garnered Second Team All-America honors with a throw of 51.0m/167-4. Riner-Lunt concludes her Cougar career as just the second women’s javelin thrower in BYU history to record three-career (2018, 2022-23) outdoor All-American honors. Hui-Chen Lee was the last do so in 1987, 1989 and 1991.

Adaobi Tabugbo, Jaslyn Gardner, Dolita Shaw and Marianne Barber made BYU history on Thursday night as the first women’s 4x100-meter relay team in school history to reach outdoor nationals.

The quartet ran 44.60, finishing 20th overall and seventh in their heat. The Cougars finished nearly three seconds ahead of Alabama while also facing four top-10 ranked teams in Texas, LSU, Baylor and Florida. Host Texas clocked a collegiate record and world-leading 41.55 in the heat.

Despite coming short of advancing to the final, Tabugbo, the foursome also closes the season having twice broken the school record and achieved a top-25 national ranking.

Sami Oblad, Marianne Barber, Dolita Shaw and Brilee Pontius closed the night’s competition for the Cougars in the 4x400-meter relay. The squad finished 22nd at 3:39.56.

BYU men’s competition resumes Friday at 7:35 p.m. CDT with Dallin Shurts in the discus throw final. Tune-in to Shurts’ competition on ESPN+ or watch Kenneth Rooks and Casey Clinger in distance events on ESPN2 beginning at 8:24 p.m. CDT.

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