AUSTIN, Texas – The BYU men's 4x400-meter relay team capped a very successful weekend for the Cougars by crushing the school record and finishing third overall at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, Saturday.
“Coming in to the meet, we felt pretty confident that we had a good chance to make nationals and run well,” BYU sprinting coach Kyle Grossarth said. “They performed above and beyond what I expected.”
The team will now enter the NCAA Championships competition in Eugene, Oregon, as one of the contenders to win a national championship.
Mario Harper started the relay off for BYU in lane 8 and gave the Cougars the lead after the first exchange. Sean Adams took over and kept BYU in contention before handing it off to Jesse White. White gained some ground on the leaders while holding the Cougars in third place before handing off to Shaquille Walker, the anchor-leg. Walker immediately closed the distance between himself and second place, and began making a move in to second place down the backstretch, nearing the final 200 meters. Coming in to the homestretch, Walker shifted over to lane two and outsprinted the two top-seeded teams' anchors, to come away with the victory in heat one of three.
Every team member's split came in well under 47 seconds. The team's time was 3:03.82, breaking the 44-year-old school record set in 1971 by more than two seconds.
"It was an amazing way to end the meet," BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. "There was amazing teamwork involved in that. Coach Grossarth did a great job in forming the team and getting them believing they could take down one of the oldest school records."
BYU added one last qualifier in senior Braydon Bringhurst, who will make his first appearance at the outdoor championships after he placed 12th in the pole vault clearing 17–4.5 (5.30m). The performance by Bringhurst matched his season-best mark set at the opening meet of the outdoor season in March.
"I'm very happy for Braydon," Eyestone said. "For him to put it all together and qualify for the NCAA finals was very satisfying."
Complete results of the three-day meet can be found here, provided by the University of Texas website. The next meet is the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, June 10–13 in Eugene, Oregon. The Cougars are sending nine individual athletes, including six men and three women. The 4x400-meter relay team consisting of Harper, Adams, White and Walker will also make the trip.
Links to recaps of Thursday and Friday's action can be found below.
|Did not qualify (DNQ)
|Did not qualify (DNQ)
|Pole Vault NCAA Championships (June 10–13, Eugene, Oregon)
|4x400m Relay NCAA Championships (June 10–13, Eugene, Oregon)