Cougars complete track meets at Columbia, Washington State


PROVO, Utah — BYU track and field wrapped up a busy weekend of competition at track meets across the country on Saturday. 

Several BYU athletes competed at The Columbia Challenge on Friday and Saturday at The Armory in New York City. 

"We come out here to get some experience traveling long distance, recovering from that and competing on a 200-meter bank track against some really good competition," said BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone. "I think we had some really good experiences through that this weekend." 

Others competed at the WSU Open & Invite hosted by Washington State in Spokane, Washington. 

Columbia Challenge


Women's Recap
The throwers kicked off Columbia Challenge action again on Saturday. Most notable was freshman Jayda Lee’s new personal best weight throw toss of 16.50m/54-1.75. Lee has set at least one new personal best mark at each of her first four meets.

Brinn Jensen placed fourth in the 400m with a time of 56.17, and 20th in the 200m after clocking a 25.083. In the Invitational heat of the 800m, Claire Seymour ran a 2:04.84, good for second place. Seymour’s time puts her at No. 9 nationally.

The Cougars placed three in the top-10 of the 800m led by first-place finisher Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes (2:06:53), Heather Hanson (2:09.44), who came in eighth and freshman Carmen Alder, whose 2:10.13 earned her 10th place. Krystie Solomon (14th, 2:11.15) and Meghan Hunter (15th, 2:11.87) also competed in the event for BYU.

Of Ellsworth-Barnes’ performance, Eyestone said, “Lauren showed a lot of grit getting into the lead and refusing to relinquish it."

Closing out the day at The Armory were Cierra Tidwell-Allphin and Mayci Torgerson (18th, 1.60m/5-3) in the high jump. Tidwell-Allphin’s mark of 1.80m/5-10.75 was good for second place.

“Cierra did a great job in the high jump today,“ Eyestone said. “I was impressed by the fact that she had to wait almost two hours before she could start jumping. That takes some patience and it was great how she was able to handle the stress of that situation."

Men's Recap
Dallin Draper, Colten Yardley and Jared Davis combined to total three top-10 finishes for the Cougars in a field of 37 competing for the 200m.

Draper clocked a 21.82, Yardley a 22.05 and Davis a 22.14 to come in fifth, seventh and 10th, respectively. Josh Taylor, Trey Jackson and Omar Aburouss also competed in the 200m, with Taylor finishing 11th.

BYU also posted two top-10 finishers in the men’s 400m. Jace Jensen set a personal-best time of 48.69 as he dashed past UCLA’s Chase Wells to take sixth. Cortez Ruiz came in close behind at eighth with a time of 49.02. Spencer Carlile took 11th, giving the Cougars three sprinters in the top-11 of the 35-man field.

Carlile, Taylor, Jackson and Jensen teamed-up to clock a 3:15.02 and finish fourth in the 4x400m relay. This put the Cougars ahead of teams from Cornell, UCLA, UConn, South Carolina and Villanova, while just 0.05 seconds outside the top-3. Jensen preserved that top-5 finish with some heroics down the final stretch. After being cut-off and falling while attempting to pass, Jensen was able to bounce back to his feet and overtake one of the opponents who'd caused his fall. 

The highlight of BYU’s trip to The Armory was Friday’s program record-breaking pole vault performance from Zach McWhorter. The returning All-American’s mark of 5.85m/19-2.25 was also a top-5 all-time Division I mark and a facility record at The Armory. With his clearance on Friday, McWhorter surpassed the previous record set in 2017 by Armand Duplantis of Lafayette, Louisiana.

"The way Zach came through on the pole vault yesterday was very inspiring," Eyestone said. "That performance will prepare him mentally and physically for a battle of the titans at nationals." 

WSU Open & Invite


Women's Recap
Taye Raymond (11th, 5.56m/18-3) and Camilla Andam (18th, 5.17m/16-11.5) began the Cougars’ competition at the WSU Open & Invite in the long jump.

In the 60m hurdles, Adaobi Tabugbo ran an 8.50 to advance to the finals. Tabugbo ran the same time in the final, earning a sixth-place finish. Kate Thomas (9.32) set a personal best in the event.

My’Jah Mintze (7.75) set a personal best in the 60m before BYU again filled three top-10 spots in the 400m. With a 56.50, freshman Brilee Pontius took third, Annalise Hart came in second with a 56.78 and Layne Bolli’s personal best 57.13 earned her a ninth-place finish.

Nine Cougars competed in the 200m as BYU concluded its events at The Podium. Three athletes set personal bests in the event: Tabugbo (25.10), Raymond (25.21) and Thomas (26.34).

Men's Recap
Easton Bianchi and Conner Kennedy were the lone BYU men's athletes to compete at The Podium in Spokane on Saturday. Bianchi came away with a pair of top-10 spots, finishing third in the 200m and 10th in the 60m. The junior from Sterling, Illinois edged Cal's George Monroe for third with a time of 21.82. Kennedy finished 16th in the 200m and sixth in the long jump with a mark of 6.82m/22-4.5. 

BYU track and field is back in action with a double-meet weekend on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12. The distance runners will return to Seattle, Washington for the Husky Classic, while the Cougars will also send athletes to compete at the Texas Tech Shootout in Lubbock, Texas.