PROVO, Utah – BYU track and field athletes won 20 events in the first meet of the season this weekend at the 2015 BYU Cougar Collegiate Indoor Invitational at the Smith Fieldhouse.
“I think it was a very successful meet coming off vacation," BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. "We’ve been back in school and practicing for only a week. To have a good opportunity at home in front of parents, friends, family and roommates, I think our team did very well on both the men’s and women’s side.”
On the men’s side, standouts included Jackson Walker, Shaquille Walker and Sean Adams. Jackson Walker won the heptathlon with 5,237 points—good for seventh-best heptathlon score in BYU men’s track and field history.
“Coming in, I was just hoping to get solid marks throughout the meet,” Walker said. "Coming off knee surgery in October, that threw off my training a little bit, but I worked hard to get back and felt good and healthy today. I know I have room for improvement in all my events, and it’s exciting to know I haven’t peaked yet.”
Shaquille Walker’s winning time of 1:01.05 in the 500 meters came within one second of the collegiate record.
“He (Walker) ran a very good time,” Eyestone said. “I think big things are in store for him in both the 400 and 800 meters."
Adams claimed first place in the 300 meters with a time of 34.08.
“I had high expectations,” Adams said. “Given that we haven’t done a lot of speed work and it’s the first meet of the season, I’m pleased. My goal is to run at nationals.”
Zachary Blackham (high jump), Bejon Bryant (60-meter hurdles), Steve Flint (3000 meters), Jonathan Harper (mile), Craig Merkley (weight throw), Blake Steeves (triple jump), Zachary Stetler (shot put) and Tatenda Tsumba (long jump) also won events for the Cougars. The men’s 4x400-meter relay team also took first place.
The BYU women also had a strong meet—taking home victory in eight events.
"In particular, Angela Shields was the first collegiate runner to finish the 300 meters," Eyestone said. "Diamond Thomas’ victory in the 60 meters was a nice performance and this is her first indoor season with us, so that was nice to see. Alyssa Monteverde-Dalton, coming off an ACL surgery last season, had a nice win in the 60-meter hurdles."
"I didn’t know what to expect," Diamond Thomas said. "The nerves were there, but in trusting our training and our coaches, everything went smoothly."
Thomas' time in the 60 meters of 7.75 was a personal record and something she hopes to improve on next week.
“It’s not quite where I want to be so I’m going to continue to work hard and get that 7.6 next week," Thomas said.
Angela Shields also recorded personal bests in the 60-meter hurdle finals with a time of 9.19 and in the 300 meters with a time of 40.31.
“It’s a good confidence boost," Shields said. "It feels good to come out this strong already. Hopefully I can keep getting better.”
Other first place finishers for the Cougars were Erin Murphy (pentathlon), Bryn Rohner (mile), Emily Bever (800 meters), Emily Allen (3000 meters), Elisa Machen (pole vault), and Margaret Appiah (high jump).
The track and field team will travel to Idaho for the Boise State Ed Jacoby Invitational on Jan.16-17.