SEATTLE – Of the 54 BYU athletes who competed at the MPSF Championships over the weekend, 36 had season-best performances.
The team’s goal heading to Seattle was to have two-thirds of the participating athletes notch their best marks of the indoor season. BYU coach Ed Eyestone was pleased with the big weekend for many of his athletes.
“It was a phenomenal meet for us,” he said. “The men’s team ended up in second and the women’s team in seventh. We had some great performances overall.”
Zachary Blackham won the high jump and set a new personal record in the process. He jumped 2.20 meters, which gives him the fourth-best mark in BYU indoor history and puts him at sixth in the NCAA this season.
Tatenda Tsumba won the 200 meters in 21.38 but was a few hundredths of a second shy of his best on the season.
Rory Linkletter took second place in the 5,000 meters with a time of 13:52.74. He trailed the winner by less than three seconds. His time is good for seventh-best in BYU indoor history.
Kevin Nielsen finished third in the heptathlon with a season-best 5640 points. He set the BYU indoor record in the process and currently sits at No. 20 in the NCAA, just missing a top 16 spot needed to qualify for nationals.
The 4x400 meter relay team took second overall with a time of 3:07.68. They just missed breaking the school record (3:07.66) by two one-hundredths of a second.
Zachary Stetler finished sixth overall in the shot put with a mark of 18.62 meters. It wasn’t a season-best, but Eyestone said it might have been the best series in his life, meaning that all of his throws were very strong.
BYU has two athletes, Shaquille Walker (800 meters) and Blackham (high jump), who will compete at nationals in two weeks.
“As well as we did, it could have been even better in terms of NCAA qualification had a number of very close performances been slightly improved,” Eyestone said. “It was a series of close calls in a number of events.”
Full results from the MPSF Championships can be accessed by clicking here.
The indoor season will conclude at the NCAA Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, on March 11-12.
PROVO, Utah – The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships are set to begin in Seattle on Friday, giving BYU athletes one final opportunity to qualify for the NCAA meet.
The top 16 athletes or relay teams nationally in each event qualify for the end-of-year indoor meet. The Cougars have two athletes who will almost assuredly find themselves in Birmingham, Alabama, for the NCAAs in two weeks in Shaquille Walker with his fourth-fastest 800 meter time and Zachary Blackham, who is tied for the10th-best high jump. BYU coach Ed Eyestone is focused on getting the rest of the Cougar hopefuls there as well.
“The MPSF meet is always important for us on a couple of fronts,” Eyestone said. “One, it’s the final indoor meet of the season and two, it’s the last chance we have to get people qualified for the NCAA meet. We have three or four athletes on the men’s side and about the same on the women’s side who can move into position for one of the NCAA spots if they have a season-best performance.”
Those currently on the cusp of NCAA qualification are Kevin Nielsen, Zachary Stetler and John Glazier. Right now, Nielsen owns the 19th-best heptathlon score in the country, while Stetler and Glazier are both just centimeters away from qualification in the shot put and long jump, respectively. BYU also has a chance to qualify both its men’s distance medley relay team and 4x400 meters relay team.
“What we want to do is make sure that we get those people that are close, qualified for the NCAA meet. That’s the overall goal this weekend,” Eyestone said.
As for the rest of the team, Eyestone hopes to see all of his athletes’ hard work and training culminate in some of the best marks of the indoor season.
“We’re taking 54 people, 27 men and 27 women. That’s the most you can take. We don’t think it’s unreasonable to have two-thirds of the team get season-best marks here at the end of the indoor season,” Eyestone said. “This is when we should be the most tapered and fit. We’ll be facing some of the best competition we’ve seen on a really fast track, so we’re asking to see a lot of those season-best marks.”
Visit the BYU men’s track and field schedule page to follow live results of the MPSF Championships.