Cougars ready for West Preliminary

(Photo by BYU Photo)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Seniors Curtis Carr and Jared Ward lead BYU track and field as the Cougars open competition at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships - West Preliminary beginning on Thursday.

“I am very excited that we have qualified so many athletes going into the championships,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “It’s a testament to the hard work of the athletes and the staff this year. At the beginning of the season we made a goal of qualifying 50 athletes and as a result we were able to end up with the second most on the men’s side and 21st most on the women’s side.”

The top 12 athletes in each event in the preliminary will advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next week. Chase Dalton and Joshua Weirich have already qualified for the championships in the decathlon. The Cougars have five men and three women currently ranked in the top 12 in their respective events in the west.

“We need to rise up in the meet this weekend and improve on our individual rankings,” Eyestone said. “If we could have six men and four women make it to the nationals it would be a successful meet for us. “

Carr is the highest seeded Cougar landing at No. 2 in the steeplechase. On the women’s side, Andrea Harrison is eighth in the steeplechase.

Ward is in the top 10 in both the 5,000-meter (seventh) and 10,000-meter (fourth) races. Jason Witt (third) and Jonathan Nelson (ninth) join Ward in the top 10 of the 10,000 meters.

Shea Martinez is No. 12 in the 800-meter race. Lexi Eaton and Dakoda John are the highest rated Cougars in the field events both landing at No. 12 in the high jump.

Zachary Blackham is just outside the top 12 at No. 13 in the high jump.

A full schedule of events and live stats have both been made available online at the NCAA.com. A full list of BYU qualifiers can be found at BYUCougars.com.