PROVO, Utah – BYU track and field kicked off its 2019 indoor season hosting the two-day BYU December Invite at the Smith Fieldhouse Thursday and Friday.
“It was a great meet because we saw the work that the coaches and athletes have been putting in all fall come to fruition,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “There were great performances by some and rust-busters for the rest. We accomplished what we wanted to by getting a solid meet in before the Christmas break.”
Jacob Foutz started the meet strong for the Cougars matching his career best and taking first place in the men’s weight throw with a distance of 19.36m/63-6.25. Eyestone noted that the senior likely had the best performance of the meet as Foutz’s mark is the 10th-best weight throw in BYU history.
All-American Andrea Stapleton-Johnson started her season off strong on in the women’s high jump clearing 1.82m/5-11.75 to take first in the event. Last season, Stapleton-Johnson jumped 1.83m/6-0 during the indoor season to qualify for the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships.
"Andrea’s mark today probably won’t get her into the NCAA Indoor Championships, but it’s impressive considering it’s the first meet of the year,” Eyestone said. “It can be hard mentally to perform well at home with some of the extra attention, but she focused well and won the mental game.”
Rickey Fantroy Jr. and Tomi Adegoke both had strong performances in the jumping events. Adegoke won the men’s long jump (7.11m/23-6.25) and beat his best performance from last season in the men’s triple jump (14.11m/46-3.5). Fantroy Jr. matched his career best in the triple jump (14.93/48-11.75) on his way to a first-place finish while also taking second place in the men’s 60m final (6.91).
The BYU men’s middle-distance runners started the season strong with Marcus Dickson winning the mile (4:12.39) and teammate Matt Owens placing second (4:12.85). Talem Franco took first in the 800m (1:52.64) and finished within two-tenths of a second from beating his personal record. All-American Rory Linkletter finished just behind Franco in second (1:53.82) with Dickson taking third (1:56.12).
Elise Romney capped the meet off winning the women’s pole vault after clearing 3.95m/12-11.5. The junior nearly vaulted for a personal-best 4.15m/13-7.25 on the next height.
“Jumping for your personal best on a short-approach in the first meet of the season is amazing,” Eyestone said. “Coach Weirich has been working hard with the vaulters and it shows.”
Eyestone also noted how impressed he was with the BYU athletes that competed unattached this meet. Their stats can be found with the full meet results on runnercard.com.
The Cougars will stay home and host the BYU Indoor Invitational at the Smith Fieldhouse on Thursday, Jan. 10, through Saturday, Jan. 12, before competing on the road for the remainder of the indoor season.