COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In the first road meet of the season, BYU men’s track and field took third place in a very competitive 11-team field at the Texas A&M Team Invitational.
BYU (72.50) trailed only No. 9 Texas A&M (146.0) and No. 2 Texas (87.50) in the meet. Stephen F. Austin (67.0), No. 19 South Carolina (64.50), Baylor (42.0), No. 16 Oklahoma State (41.0), Texas State (32.0), UTSA (28.50), Abilene Christian (17.0) and No. 7 TCU (11.0) rounded out the team scoring. BYU coach Ed Eyestone was thrilled with the Cougars’ performance.
“I think we had an outstanding meet for both the men’s and women’s teams,” he said. “We ended up third and fifth, respectively, in the meet. When you’re battling against some of the best from the SEC and the Big 12 I think that’s a great result.”
The Cougars kicked off the meet on Friday with the distance medley relay.
“The DMR started off really well last night. It was nice for both the men and women to represent in the DMR – they had very solid legs from all the runners,” Eyestone said. “Any time you open the meet really strong it kind of sets the tone for things.”
A few newer faces had breakout performances over the weekend.
“On the men’s side we had Rory Linkletter win the 3000m (8:11.35). He led for most of the race and then made a nice move down the homestretch to win.”
Sophomore Karson Fronk took second in the men’s mile (4:10.63) after leading most of the race.
Senior leader Sean Adams took fourth in the 400m with a time of 47.64, a new indoor personal record.
One of the Cougars’ best high jumpers, Sam Rockwood, continued his road to recovery with his best meet since tearing his ACL in the fall of 2014.
“Sam did extremely well," Eyestone said. "He ended up in second place with a jump of 6’11”. It was his best performance since his season-ending injury. He went out last year trying to get confidence back in his leg, so it’s the best we’ve seen from 'post-injury Sam.'"
“For me personally, it was the first time travelling in 17 months,” Rockwood said. “It was a big burden off my back to finally clear a pretty good height in 6’11”. I had a pretty miserable meet last week, and coach Mark Robison talked to me and told me to quit focusing on outcomes and focus rather on what you’re doing well and stay positive. In all honesty, I just kept thinking about the things I needed to do and I never worried about where the bar was. I was pleased with how it worked out and it’s something I’m going to continue to do in the future.”
“All in all I think it was a great opportunity to garner some experience going against some of the sprint powers on teams that are consistently scoring well at the NCAA championships,” Eyestone said. “I think we showed that we can compete. It’s still a very early meet but this was a good learning experience. The NCAA meet has been held here a couple of times as well. It gave our athletes a big time experience prior to the NCAA meet so that when the time comes for them to go to nationals their eyes won't be like saucers—they’ll be going in with the mindset that this is just like Texas A&M.”
Click here for complete meet results.
Next up for BYU is the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado next Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 21-23.
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s track and field will compete in its first road meet of the indoor season in College Station, Texas at the Texas A&M Team Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 15 and 16.
BYU will join an 11-team field that also includes Texas A&M, Abilene Christian, Baylor, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Texas, TCU, Texas State, UTSA and Stephen F. Austin.
Traveling to the southwest to face great competition are things BYU coach Ed Eyestone is looking forward to this weekend.
“We’re going to take a good group. It’ll be fun because we’ll get to go down to Texas and see a part of the country where we have started to do a bit more recruiting,” Eyestone said. “I think it will be a good opportunity. Texas A&M is one of the track powerhouses, especially in sprints and jumps. I think we’ll be able to match up with them pretty well, especially in the distance and short distance events.”
He also views the event as another opportunity for his athletes to make significant progress in the early part of the season.
“I’d be a little bit surprised to be pulling out our fastest times of the year this early, but it is an important step in the process of just improving from one week to the next and that’s what we hope to do this week,” Eyestone said. “You want to peak at the (national) indoor meet and carry it on to the outdoor season. So this is a crucial step but we aren’t expecting our athletes to be at 100% at this point.”
Eyestone mentioned a number of athlete performances he has his eye on this week.
“On the men’s side, we had some outstanding performances last week,” he said. “Zachary Blackham is going to be competing again in the high jump. He went 7-feet, 1-inch” last week. We’re hoping he can duplicate that performance or do even better. There will be some great competition for him there.”
Other athletes to pay particular attention to in Texas are David Graham, who will make his season debut in the 800 meters and Tatenda Tsumba, who will run both the 60 and 200. Many other additional athletes also made the trip.
The Cougars will also field a four-man relay team in the distance medley this weekend. The DMR consists of four legs – 400, 800, 1200 and mile – with one team member competing in each of the events. Eyestone believes BYU has a chance of qualifying for indoor nationals in the DMR, so he will likely enter a team in the event throughout the indoor season.