Natalie Stewart finishes second in 400 to lead BYU at Aztec Invitational

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SAN DIEGO – Senior Natalie Stewart finished second in the 400-meter run during the final day of the Aztec Invitational Saturday with a time of 53.85 seconds, a time only .46 off her personal best.

Due to an ACL injury in 2011, Stewart has not run this fast of a time since the 2010 Robison Outdoor Invitational where she finished with a time of 53.91.

“This was a outstanding meet for an opener,” head coach Patrick Shane said. “Natalie (Stewart) turned a corner this week in practice, and it showed in her race today. If she keeps it up, she’ll run under 53.00 this year.”

Nicole Rudd Bringhurst finished 18th in the same race with a time of 56.87.

The other standout performer was Sarah Yingling in the 800-meter run. For the second time during the meet, Yingling finished first in her heat and first overall with a time of 2:09.45. She also finished with a new personal-best time. The other race Yingling won was the 1,500-meter run, which took place on Friday.

Jessica Hilton, who finished third overall in the 1,500-meter run on Friday, placed third in her heat in the 800 and sixth overall with a time of 2:12.02.

In the 400-meter hurdles, freshmen Allysa Hansen and Kaylee Packham went one and two in their heat, fifth and sixth overall. They finished with times of 1:01.44 and 1:01.87, respectively.  

In the discus, freshman Madison Pachner finished seventh overall with a throw of 44.50m. Brittany Critchfield and Deezbaa Whaley finished 12th and 14th with throws of 42.67m and 41.96m, respectively.

“This is a great way to start the year,” Shane said. “The event coaches are very happy. We all feel we are poised for a great year.”

Final results for the invitational can be found here.

Next weekend, the Cougars return to California for the Trojan Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Day 1 recap