(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah — Following a week of broken records, the BYU track and field team will travel only eight athletes in hope of qualifying for nationals in both the men’s and women’s distance medley relay teams at the Alex Wilson invitational at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, on Feb. 17-18.
“This weekend is all about the distance medley relay,” head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We are taking a men’s and a women’s group, four athletes each, and it is always a great opportunity to get relay team qualified because it gives four more athletes the chance to go to the national meet.”
In total, only 12 women’s teams and 12 men’s teams in the DMR will qualify for the national competition, and Eyestone hopes to secure spots for both his men and women in the relay this weekend.
“Our goal is to go to this meet and come back having qualified both teams.”
The DMR features four legs: the 1200 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters and the mile, each run by a different athlete.
For the men, Abraham Alvarado will be starting the team off with the 1200 meters and will be followed by Connor Ross in the 800 meters before Max Scheible takes over with the 400 meters. Anchoring for the Cougars in the mile will be Clayton Young.
On the women’s side, Ashleigh Warner will take off first for BYU with the 1200 meters and Shea Collinsworth will then run the 800 meters. Following Collinsworth will be Brenna Porter in the 400 meters before Erica Birk finishes things off in the mile.
With 15 athletes breaking into the top-10 all-time lists at BYU, including races by Collinsworth, Birk, Warner, Alvarado, Ross and Young, many of last week’s performance at the Iowa State Classic were worthy of qualification for the national meet. Eyestone reflected on the impact of last week and how his team has continued prep for nationals.
“It’s been a great week,” Eyestone said. “When you come off a banner week as a team, there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, but there is some fatigue as well. It has been a nice week in terms of recovery. We have tried to rest our athletes adequately but still put in the adequate training stimulus to get them ready for the conference meet and beyond to nationals.”
While the DMR teams are competing in South Bend, the remaining athletes will continue training for the MPSF Championships on Feb. 24-25. Eyestone said that with the Championships less than two weeks away, his team will be eyeing final qualifying spots.
“The MPSF is two weeks out from the national meet, and that is really your last chance to qualify. Sometimes it is a little more difficult to do it there because of the way that the races are not paced and are more strategic. But, it still can be done and we have had teams qualify before.”