Records falling all around: men's track and field home finale comes with a flourish
PROVO, Utah — No. 13 BYU men’s track and field enjoyed a home finale at Robison Track and Field on Saturday as the team recorded 20 personal-bests, five Top-10 marks, a 33 year-old facility record and a school record.
“It’s been a phenomenal day,” Director of Track and Field Ed Eyestone said. “We hold this meet two weeks before the NCAA West Preliminary because it gives our athletes the chance to improve, whether they’ve already qualified or are trying to.”
Pole vaulter Zach McWhorter wrote the next chapter in the story of his superb BYU career, on Saturday. McWhorter cleared a school record height of 5.76m/18-10.75, soaring past his previous school record mark of 5.70m/18-8.25.
“It was a great way for him to finish the home season,” said McWhorter’s event coach and father, Rick. “It’s a joy to be his coach and dad, to see how hard he’s worked and how much his hard work has paid off.”
The sophomore from Springdale, Arkansas initially set BYU’s record clearance at the 2021 Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays but tied it again at the Mt. SAC Relays in April 2022. Following Saturday’s performance, McWhorter moves into No. 2 nationally, surpassing Princeton’s Sondre Guttormsen.
In less than six months’ time, McWhorter has broken his own outdoor school record once and his own indoor school record twice.
Caleb Witsken accompanied McWhorter in Saturday’s prolific pole vault showcase. Witsken set a new personal-best with a clearance of 5.56m/18-3, surpassing a 2001 mark by Jeff Hansen for No. 3 all-time at BYU.
BYU’s Saturday success was far from limited to the pole vault.
Sebastian Fernandez, a newcomer to the team, burst onto the scene with a Robison Track and Field Complex record of 1:47.03 in the 800-meters. The previous facility record was held by former Virginia athlete Paul Ereng and had gone untouched since June 2, 1989. Fernandez’s performance also secured him No. 5 all-time at BYU, surpassing Mao Tjiorze (2001).
Dallin Vorkink scored 7,894 in the decathlon, a personal-best by 290 points. With the score, Vorkink vaulted from No. 9 to No. 4 in the BYU record books, surpassing 1974 national champion Runald Backman. The junior from Kirksville, Mo. now rises from No. 17 to No. 9 nationally, overtaking Daniel Spejcher of No. 18 Arkansas.
AJ Beynon took second to Vorkink in the decathlon but set a new personal-best of his own at 7,192.
Four of 19 personal bests recorded by the BYU men on Saturday came in the 400-meters. Trey Jackson and Joshua Taylor led the pack, coming in first and second, respectively. Jackson clocked a time of 46.24, debuting in the top-10 at No. 9 all-time as he surpassed a Matt Nielson (2002).
Following a week off, qualifying BYU athletes will begin their quest for a national title at the NCAA West Preliminary in Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 25-28.