EUGENE, Oregon – On the final day of the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships, junior Shea Collinsworth placed third overall in the 800m race, setting a personal record time of 2:02.83 on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon. Her performance gave her NCAA first-team All-America honors and qualified her to compete in the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials.
Collinsworth was the only BYU athlete to compete on Saturday, and she represented the Cougars well.
“Today it was all about Shea Collinsworth,” said track and field head coach Ed Eyestone. “She put herself in a great position this weekend, and she knew what she had to do. She showed no fear and went out strong, starting right out with the leaders. She battled all the way to the finish line, and I was very proud of her effort. She is a very strong young lady, and she represented herself and the university very well.”
Collinsworth took .38 seconds off of her previous PR of 2:03.21 and came in at 2:02.83. Her new 800m record ranks No. 3 all-time at BYU.
Coach Patrick Shane coached Collinsworth throughout this season and championship weekend, and he was pleased with the maturity and confidence she showed on the big stage.
“After placing seventh in the 2015 indoor championships and fifth the following year, she came into this race knowing that she had some unfinished business. She had her race planned to take the lead and make it an honest race and she came out and did just that. (Running her best time ever and finishing third) put a stamp of the validity on her career. I am just thrilled for her; she showed great maturity on her part, and she developed as a world-class 800-meter runner.”
Collinsworth's personal record time also hit the standard for qualification into this year’s U.S. Olympic trials. She will return to Eugene in the first week of July with men’s 800m runner Shaquille Walker where both will compete for a chance to represent the U.S in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Coach Eyestone has high hopes for both his athletes, and he looks forward to what they will produce at race time.
“They both have a nice shot of making it into the finals,” he said, “and once you make it to the final, it is just a matter of putting your best race together and hopefully punching your ticket to Rio.”
The men's team finished tied for 36th place overall with six points, and the women's team also finished with six points, tied for 43rd overall. With the weekend and outdoor season coming to a close, Coach Eyestone is proud of the way his team ran and competed.
“It was a learning experience for a lot of our guys,” he said. “It was an opportunity for some of our younger people to get some experience. We had a number of people who ended up with second-team All-American honors, plus Shaq and Shea with first-team honors, and overall I was really pleased with how our people went out and battled.”