PROVO, Utah – The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships are set to begin in Seattle on Friday, giving BYU athletes one final opportunity to qualify for the NCAA meet.
The top 16 athletes or relay teams nationally in each event qualify for the end-of-year indoor meet. The Cougars have two athletes who will almost assuredly find themselves in Birmingham, Alabama, for the NCAAs in two weeks in Shaquille Walker with his fourth-fastest 800 meter time and Zachary Blackham, who is tied for the10th-best high jump. BYU coach Ed Eyestone is focused on getting the rest of the Cougar hopefuls there as well.
“The MPSF meet is always important for us on a couple of fronts,” Eyestone said. “One, it’s the final indoor meet of the season and two, it’s the last chance we have to get people qualified for the NCAA meet. We have three or four athletes on the men’s side and about the same on the women’s side who can move into position for one of the NCAA spots if they have a season-best performance.”
Those currently on the cusp of NCAA qualification are Kevin Nielsen, Zachary Stetler and John Glazier. Right now, Nielsen owns the 19th-best heptathlon score in the country, while Stetler and Glazier are both just centimeters away from qualification in the shot put and long jump, respectively. BYU also has a chance to qualify both its men’s distance medley relay team and 4x400 meters relay team.
“What we want to do is make sure that we get those people that are close, qualified for the NCAA meet. That’s the overall goal this weekend,” Eyestone said.
As for the rest of the team, Eyestone hopes to see all of his athletes’ hard work and training culminate in some of the best marks of the indoor season.
“We’re taking 54 people, 27 men and 27 women. That’s the most you can take. We don’t think it’s unreasonable to have two-thirds of the team get season-best marks here at the end of the indoor season,” Eyestone said. “This is when we should be the most tapered and fit. We’ll be facing some of the best competition we’ve seen on a really fast track, so we’re asking to see a lot of those season-best marks.”
Visit the BYU men’s track and field schedule page to follow live results of the MPSF Championships.