(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah – The BYU track and field team is ready for the first round of the NCAA’s, the NCAA West Preliminaries. The team will compete in 26 events with a toal of 48 entries between the men and women. The meet will take place in Lawrence, Kansas, this Thursday-Saturday.
“Having a high number of entries is a testament to the hard work and determination of the staff and of the athletes themselves,” BYU track and field head coach Ed Eyestone said. “The end all goal is not to make it to just the first round of the NCAA’s, but to make it to the finals of the NCAA’s. It’s the sort of thing where you put the numbers in and then you’re going to get numbers out. Our end all goal is to make it to the championship and score as best as we can there. We are excited to take a big group of athletes to the first round. I have high hopes and high expectation, as well as the rest of the coaching staff, that we can get a number of quality people through.”
The men’s team has a total of 30 entries in 17 different events, which is the third highest in the nation behind Arkansas and Texas A&M. The women will have 18 entries in nine different events.
Athletes will have to rank in the top 12 at the meet this weekend in order to move onto the finals in Eugene, Oregon, in two weeks. With a relatively high number ranked in the top 15 to 20 of their events, there is potential for a good number of athletes moving onto the next round.
“It’s not a matter of hitting it out of the park, it’s just a matter of delivering and doing what you’ve been doing all year long in more of a high pressured situation," Eyestone said. "It’s all about tapering at this stage in the game, realizing that maybe less is more, and doing a lot of short intense workout they can recover from. It’s all about recovering at this stage and resting going into the meet prepared mentally and physically."
Eyestone said the top athletes to watch for on the men's team include No. 1 ranked Shaquille Walker in the men’s 800m, No. 7 Zachary Blackham in the high jump, and No. 3 Aaron Fletcher in the 3000m.
The men’s 4x400m relay is currently ranked No. 17 and has proven to be a solid event for the team in past years.
Jackson Walker ranks No. 11 in the decathlon and automatically moves onto the NCAA Championships. The decathlon is the only event not competed in at the preliminaries.
On the women's side, there are high expectations from the coaching staff for sisters, Alyssa Monteverde-Dalton (100m hurdles) and Anginae Monteverde (pole vault). Both sisters competed at the preliminaries last year and Anginae Monteverde went on to the championships to place sixth overall.
Also on the women’s side, Madison Pachner (No. 11) will be competing for her first time at the NCAA West Preliminaries in the women’s discus throw. Shea Martinez-Collinsworth (No. 3) will also be a top athlete to watch in the women’s 800m.
Complete list of qualified athletes.
The meet will begin Thursday, May 26, and go until Saturday, May 28, at the University of Kansas. View a full schedule of the meet here. For live streaming and results visit the women’s track and field schedule page.