Four BYU men punch tickets to nationals on day one at NCAA West Preliminary
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — No. 11 BYU men’s track and field completed day one at the NCAA West Preliminaries, qualifying four for NCAA Nationals with two more advancing to their respective quarterfinal rounds set to take place Friday.
Cameron Bates punched his ticket to NCAA Nationals with a sixth-place, 70.89m/232-7 toss in the javelin throw. The junior will return to nationals for a second time after having competed in 2021. Currently the all-time javelin leader at BYU (77.17m/253-2), Bates’ throw Wednesday would be counted as No. 5 all-time if he didn’t already stand atop the school record books.
“Cameron hasn’t competed in six weeks, since the Mt. SAC Relays, mostly because we’re making sure his elbow is healthy,” said BYU assistant throws coach Nik Arrhenius. “I think he was a little rusty today. We had two goals to check off: first, make it to nationals, and second, place in the top six in order to compete in the second flight at nationals. Both of those were accomplished today.”
Defending Second Team All-American pole vaulter Caleb Witsken notched a clearance of 5.40m/17-8.5 to earn his spot among competitors in Austin, Texas at NCAA Nationals June 7-10. The clearance was good for a tie with an elite group of athletes that included two in the top five nationally: Zach Bradford of Texas Tech (ranked No. 2) and Branson Ellis of Stephen F. Austin (ranked No. 3).
Casey Clinger and Brandon Garnica join Bates and Witsken as Cougars to lock up a spot at NCAA Nationals. Garnica and Clinger ran a consistent race near the top of the pack in the 10,000-meters, with Clinger placing ninth (28:23.41) and Garnica at 10th (28:24.05). Both were Second Team All-Americans in the event last year.
“That’s certainly the fastest 10,000m we’ve had at regionals in a while,” said BYU director of track & field Ed Eyestone. “I’m proud of the guys. Casey [Clinger] and Brandon [Garnica] obviously had good days - they knew they just needed to finish in the top 12 and ran accordingly.”
Christian Allen made a last-second bid for a top 12 qualifying spot, but fell just short at 13th (28:31.97). The Cougars’ top five for the event was rounded out by Creed Thompson at 15th (28:45.04) and Joey Nokes (29:08.28).
“Christian [Allen] was really the superstar of the night, he’s been dinged up with an injury and hasn’t had the chance to really train much over the last month, and for him to come within one or two seconds of making it to nationals was just amazing,” Eyestone said. “I’m super, super pleased with the efforts of all the guys.”
Lucas Bons qualified for Friday’s quarterfinal round as he raced to a season-best in the 1,500-meter first round, placing fifth among 47 runners at 3:40.83. The sophomore finished just 0.17 seconds behind No. 8 Adam Spencer of Wisconsin and less than a second behind event winner and second-ranked Joe Waskom (Washington). Bons aims to earn a second career nationals appearance on Friday.
Josh Taylor and Trey Jackson competed in the 400-meter first round. Taylor, fresh off a No. 3 all-time 400-meter race in BYU history two weeks ago (45.76), earned a spot in Friday’s quarterfinal as a time qualifier at 46.23. Jackson finished at 46.61.
Freshman Dallin Thornton improved upon his personal record by two heights to record a 5.30m/17-4.5. Another personal record on the night came from Treyton Anderson 400-meter hurdles with a 27th-place finish at 51.98.
The men will resume competition on Friday, beginning with the discus throw at 1:00 p.m. PDT.
For comprehensive results of BYU athletes, see MEET CENTRAL.
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