LOS ANGELES – BYU men’s and women’s track and field teams started the outdoor season well with multiple first-place performances and several regional qualifiers at the Trojan Invitational and UNLV Invitational/Sheila Tarr Multis on Friday and Saturday.
“I think we are on track,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “This is the most regional qualifiers we have ever had qualify at this first meet, so that is nice. Generally, our first meet isn’t out best meet, so I am excited for what is to come. This was a good kick off for us all around.”
The Cougars had impressive performances all around the venue, and as the season moves on, the team will build off of those who have already qualified for the NCAA regional meet.
Men’s discus thrower Zachary Stetler took first place with a 53.12m mark. He took third place overall in the men’s shot put with an 18.57m throw, and both throws are regional qualifying marks. Also logging a qualifying mark in the field events was Kraymer Eppich in the javelin throw. He recorded a 62.95m mark, just .10 off his personal best, but his mark will still go down as a regional-qualifying throw.
Also in the field events was Payge Cuthbertson in the javelin throw. She finished in second place overall with a 47.27m throw and, with that, qualifies for regionals as well and goes down in BYU’s outdoor records as the eighth-longest all-time throw. Teammate and women’s hammer thrower Sadie Nielsen also recorded a qualifying mark with a first-place finish and a 51.70m mark.
Tatenda Tsumba had himself a weekend, with two first place finishes and regional qualifications. With a 10.18 in the 100 meters, he claims a spot on the BYU all-time lists with fifth place. He also took first place in the 200 meters with a time of 20.94.
Five distance runners qualified for regionals as well; three from the men’s team and two from the women’s squad. Daniel Carney, Mitchell Briggs and Porter Reddish went one-two-three in the men’s 3000m steeplechase with times of 8:53.52, 8:56.55 and 9:00.64, respectively.
And on the women’s side of things, freshman Courtney Wayment competed in her first-ever 3000m steeplechase and took first place overall with a time of 10:13.39, beating the runners behind her by over 30 seconds. Meanwhile, Whittni Orton took first place in the women’s 1500 meters with a time of 4:23.62. Both runners qualify for regionals.
Other notable performances included a personal best from Kaitlyn Gunnerson in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, a time of 14.73, and a personal best from Kyndal Stewart in the pole vault, breaking 12 feet and logging a mark of 3.80m. Keesha Miller also had a personal record of 24.91 in the women’s 200 meters.
Additionally, at this weekend’s UNLV meet, Drew Tingey recorded a new personal best in the 400 meters, a time of 47.49 and a fourth place finish overall.
The women’s 800-meter runners also had an impressive showing this weekend, with four athletes placing in the top seven of the women’s competition. Orton took first (2:10.00), with Madelyn Brooks (2:10.21), McKenna Neyman (2:12.04) and Sidney Reilly (2:13.18) taking second, sixth and seventh, respectively.
“I really think this meet is an indication of how the rest of the season is going to go,” Eyestone observed. “We’ve started off strong, and now we continue to go from here. We will continue to have people qualify for regionals and hopefully on to the national meet. Last year we had a good group there, and hopefully we’ll have an even bigger group there this year and score a lot of points.”
Next, BYU will travel to San Diego to compete in the Aztec Invitational on March 24-25.