Barton captures First Team All-American honors in the decathlon


AUSTIN, Texas - Sophomore decathlete Ben Barton represented No. 14 BYU men’s track and field Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, earning the Cougars’ fourth First Team All-American honor at Mike A. Myers Stadium this week. 

Barton totaled 7,815 points to place eighth overall in a field of 24, a score that improved on his own No. 6 all-time spot in BYU history. The Birmingham, Michigan native’s performance captured his first career All-American honor in as many appearances at nationals. He joins Kevin Nielsen (2018) as the second Cougar to be awarded a First Team All-American decathlete since the NCAA began distinguishing between First Team, Second Team, and Honorable Mention honors in 2011.

The 7,815 points marks the sixth highest point total by a BYU decathlete at NCAA nationals. He also becomes just the fourth Cougar since 1987 to place among the top-10 in the event at the NCAA championships.

BYU associate head coach Mark Robison, who has overseen decathletes with the program since 1988, has now coached eight All-American multi-athletes who have tallied a combined 10 All-American awards.

“We were hoping that [Barton] could just be in the top 16,” said Robison. “It’s amazing. He had a great day, doing just enough for each event. He worked so hard and wow, he did this at his first decathlon at NCAA nationals. Watch and see, he’s going to be our school record holder in the next two years. He’s only been off his [two-year] mission for about a year now. He’s going to be absolutely remarkable. I’m so proud of him.”

Despite a more than two-hour weather delay, Barton set personal records in three of Thursday’s five events.

Entering the day at eighth overall, he clocked a 14.22 in the 110-meter hurdles to secure fifth in the event and move up to sixth in the field. He clocked in just 0.01 second ahead of Mississippi State’s Peyton Bair to place second in the most difficult heat.

After just one event, the weather delay pushed back the remaining four. He would respond with a personal record in the discus throw, heaving for a 38.23m/122-1 mark to surpass his prior best mark of 36.40m/119-5 at March’s Aztec Invitational.

The sophomore then racked up personal bests in both the pole vault and javelin toss, propelling to a 4.41m/14-5.5 in the pole vault before heaving the javelin 52.75m/173-0 to best his personal record set in 2019. In the javelin, he placed fifth in his flight to place him at ninth overall heading into the final event. Top eight athletes earn First Team All-American honors.

With 14 points separating Barton and Mississippi State’s Peyton Bair, Barton emerged the victor with a fifth-place, 4:36.59 run to move up to eighth overall. The run put him just ahead of Iowa’s Austin West and Michigan State’s Ryan Talbot.

Team Score

No. 14 BYU finds itself in a favorable position for NCAA Championships team standings at eighth place (10.5 points) among 87 programs entering Friday’s events. BYU is locked in the hunt with Minnesota (11 points), South Alabama (10), Nebraska (10), and Texas (10) for a spot just outside the top five.

The Cougars enter Friday tied with Texas atop 2023-24 Big 12 teams in point total.

Men Team Rankings through Thursday
No. 1Arkansas24
No. 2Stanford18
No. 3Arizona16
No. 4LSU15
No. 5Georgia13
No. 5Harvard13
No. 7Minnesota11
No. 8BYU10.5
No. 9South Alabama10
No. 9Nebraska10
No. 9Texas10

The men's team will compete for the final time of the 2022-23 season Friday evening, with Dallin Shurts in the discus, Kenneth Rooks in the steeplechase and Casey Rooks in the 5000-meters. For start times and live stream links, see MEET CENTRAL.