May 25 | 10:00 AM

Joseph Hovey | Posted: 25 May 2022 | Updated: 17 Jun 2022
Joseph Hovey

Men's track and field qualifies five for nationals on day one in Fayetteville

Michael Whittaker celebrates at 2022 NCAA West Prelims.
Video file

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — No. 9 BYU men’s track and field qualified five athletes for the National Championships at the NCAA Division I West Preliminary meet at John McDonnell Field on Wednesday.


Michael Whittaker, Caleb Witsken and Zach McWhorter each clinched berths to Eugene, Oregon in their respective field events, while Casey Clinger and Brandon Garnica did the same in the 10,000-meters.

Colten Yardley and Sebastian Fernandez each advanced to quarterfinals in the 400-meter hurdles and 800-meters, respectively.

Whittaker was the first Cougar of the day to punch a ticket to nationals, but the path there wasn’t easy. The junior from Spanish Fork, Utah was buried in the pack after two throws. Any chance of nationals hinged on his third attempt.

“I wasn’t myself on those first two throws,” Whittaker said. “But after my second throw I took myself to the side and did some positive self-talk to regain confidence. This recalibrated my mind and body to make a great last effort.”

Whittaker ripped a throw of 67.35m/220-11 on his final attempt, jumping into 11th place and clinching his spot in Eugene.

“That was one of the greatest examples of mental toughness I’ve seen in one of my throwers,” said BYU throws coach Niklas Arrhenius.

Clinger (28:47.45) and Garnica (28:47.75) crossed together at ninth and tenth, respectively, to finish the 10,000m in nationals qualifying range while also looking to prevent burnout ahead of Friday’s 5,000-meters.

“The western 10,000m is one of the most competitive of preliminary events,” said BYU Director of Track and Field Ed Eyestone. “I thought Clinger and Garnica did an excellent job, especially since they had Friday’s 5,000m on their minds.”

Caleb Witsken and Zach McWhorter both cleared 5.39m/17-8.25 to finish third and fifth, respectively, in the pole vault.

“Caleb was on his A-game tonight and Zach always finds a way to pull it out,” said BYU pole vault coach Rick McWhorter. “I was proud of Zach’s nerves of steel as he waited two hours to jump.”

With Wednesday’s performance, Witsken has earned his first career outdoor nationals berth and McWhorter his second-straight.

Jacob Barnes, Danny Bryant, Aidan Troutner, Trey Jackson, Dallin Draper, Spencer Carlile and Joey Nokes were each eliminated in first round action on Wednesday night.

Men’s action continues Friday, including quarterfinal action for Fernandez and Yardley.

The BYU women open preliminary competition on Thursday at 10 a.m. CDT with live stream coverage beginning at 6 p.m. CDT on SEC Network+



Joseph Hovey | Posted: 19 May 2022 | Updated: 8 Jun 2022
Joseph Hovey

59 to Fayetteville: NCAA West Preliminary entries announced

BYU track and field 59 entries to 2022 NCAA West Preliminary

NEW ORLEANS – No. 9/14 BYU track and field has qualified 59 entries for the 2022 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminary at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 25-28.

“Our assistant coaches have prepared our athletes well and we are excited to compete at the West Preliminary,” said BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone. “Given the quantity and quality of competitors we will have in Fayetteville, we have an excellent opportunity to advance to nationals and finish in the top-10 there.”

The men's team qualified 23 athletes in 24 entries, including both 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay teams. Kenneth Rooks, Davin Thompson, Zach Erikson, Garrett Marsing and Adam Wood combined to give the Cougars a nation-leading five men's steeplechase entries. 

Men's Qualifiers
Name Event
Dallin Draper 200m
Trey Jackson 400m
Sebastian Fernandez 800m
Aidan Troutner 1500m
Casey Clinger 5000m
Brandon Garnica 5000m
Casey Clinger 10,000m
Brandon Garnica 10,000m
Joey Nokes 10,000m
Colten Yardley 400m hurdles
Spencer Carlile 400m hurdles
Kenneth Rooks 3000m Steeplechase
Davin Thompson 3000m Steeplechase
Zach Erikson 3000m Steeplechase
Garrett Marsing 3000m Steeplechase
Adam Wood 3000m Steeplechase
Jared Davis, Dallin Draper, Landon Maxfield, Colten Yardley 4x100m Relay
Jace Jensen, Dallin Draper, Landon Maxfield, Colten Yardley  4x400m Relay
Zach McWhorter Pole Vault
Caleb Witsken Pole Vault
Danny Bryant Shot Put
Dallin Shurts Discus
Michael Whittaker Javelin 
Dallin Vorkink* Decathlon

*Multi-event athletes automatically advance to nationals in Eugene, Oregon on June 8-11. 

The women's team tallied 37 total entries, including two relay teams, sending 34 total athletes to Arkansas. Heptathlete Halley Folsom Walker automatically qualified for the event at Nationals in Oregon on June 8-11, but also qualified for the 400-meter hurdles at next week's West Preliminary.

Women's Qualifiers
Name Event
Alena Ellsworth 400m
Annalise Hart 400m
Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes 800m
Claire Seymour 800m
Meghan Hunter 800m
Kate Hunter 1500m
Carmen Alder 1500m
Heather Hanson 1500m
Sadie Sargent 1500m
Aubrey Frentheway 10,000m
McKenna Lee 10,000m
Anna Martin 10,000m
Adaobi Tabugbo 100m Hurdles
Halley Folsom Walker 400m Hurdles
Courtney Wayment 3000m Steeplechase
Lexy Halladay 3000m Steeplechase
Allie Warner 3000m Steeplechase
Lizzie Dildine 3000m Steeplechase
Madi Moffitt 3000m Steeplechase
Adaobi Tabugbo, Taye Raymond, Dolita Awala-Shaw, Annalise Hart 4x100m Relay
Meghan Hunter, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Claire Seymour, Alena Ellsworth  4x400m Relay
Cierra Tidwell-Allphin High Jump
Cailee Faulkner Pole Vault
Rebekah Ross Pole Vault
Gretchen Hoekstre Shot Put
Jessica Thompson Shot Put
Sierra Freeland Shot Put
Sable Lohmeier El-Bakri Discus
Gretchen Hoekstre Discus
Leah Thompson Discus
Sable Lohmeier El-Bakri Hammer
Ashton Riner Javelin
Libby Parkinson Javelin
Jessica Thompson Javelin
Nicole Freestone Javelin
Alex McAllister Javelin
Halley Folsom Walker* Heptathlon

*Multi-event athletes automatically advance to nationals in Eugene, Oregon on June 8-11.