Freshman Whittni Orton will advance to the quarterfinals in the 1500-meter race. (Photo by Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)
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AUSTIN, Texas — Two Cougars automatically qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships while nine others qualified for the quarterfinals in their respective events during the first day of competition at the 2017 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminary on Thursday.
“We capped off an exciting night, finishing off with the men’s 10,000-meter race,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “We had a lot of athletes qualify for the next round.”
Rory Linkletter and Clayton Young punched their tickets to the championships in Eugene, Oregon, after strong performances in the 10,000m. Linkletter finished second in the heat with a time of 29:51.63 while Young posted a 29:56.58 in seventh place.
"Rory and Clayton put together a really nice 10,000-meter run. The conditions were warm and it was windy, but they executed a very smart race," Eyestone said. "Rory did work early on and kicked it in later as well."
All three male BYU 400-m hurdle athletes qualified for the quarterfinals: Korey Smith (51.69), Scott Mecham (51.80) and Max Scheible (51.88). In the 100m, Tatenda Tsumba and Clark Brown recorded times of 10.14 and 10.25, respectively, and will move on as well. Chase Horrocks will advance in the 1500m with a time of 3:51.73.
On the women's side, Shea Collinsworth punched her ticket for the next round in the 800m with a 2:07.64. Eyestone said Collinsworth had a target on her back but controlled her race well with style and grace.
Freshmen Whittni Orton and Heidi Fuhriman will both advance to women's 1500m quarterfinals after recording times of 4:28.50 and 4:33.91, respectively.
"Despite their underclassmen status, they came in strong," Eyestone said. "They were fearless."
The West Preliminary continues tomorrow as BYU athletes compete in the women’s 800m, 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase, discus and high jump, as well as the men’s 100m, 200m, 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase pole vault and shot put. West Preliminary competition will conclude Saturday, May 27, before the NCAA Championships are held June 7 through 10 in Eugene, Oregon.
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