Four Cougars qualify for NCAA Indoor Championships

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – Four athletes will represent the BYU men’s track and field team this weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships at Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Ark.

Victor Weirich, Jared Ward, Tylor Thatcher and Ryan Waite qualified for the national meet by finishing the season ranked in the top 16 nationally in their respective events.

“This is probably the toughest indoor qualifying group that I’ve ever seen,” head coach Mark Robison said. “For example, there were 31 athletes who finished under four minutes in the mile. That means 15 kids had mile times under four minutes but are staying home this weekend. It’s crazy.”

Each of the BYU athletes who qualified for nationals this year did so while setting personal indoor bests.

“Our guys are going into the competition performing the best they’ve done in their college careers,” Robison said. “That’s exactly what they need though, since the talent in the field is so incredible this year.”

Weirich finished the regular season tied for sixth in the pole vault with a mark of 18-02.00 set at the Air Force Team Challenge in February. At the 2012 Indoor Championships, Weirich took 10th place with a mark of 17-04.50. The pole vault finals are on Friday at 4:30 p.m. MST.

Ward and Thatcher both qualified for nationals in the 5,000-meter run. Ward had the 11th-best time in the country at 13:41.97, which is also a BYU record. Thatcher grabbed the 16th spot with a time of 13:45.43, the second-best time in Cougar history. The men’s 5,000 meters final is scheduled for Friday night at 7:15 p.m. MST.

At the Husky Classic in Seattle last month, Waite broke his own school record in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:48.49. The time was the 16th-best in the country this season, qualifying Waite for nationals. The semifinals for the 800 meters will be run at 6:25 p.m. MST on Friday.

Check the men’s track and field home page for recaps of the events at the end of each day.