WALNUT, Calif. – More BYU track and field athletes picked up times and marks that should qualify them for regionals at the 58th annual Mount Sac Relays hosted by Cerritos College this weekend.
“The Mount Sac Relays is an important opportunity for our athletes, particularly our distance runners who only get to run their events a couple of times before the regional meet,” BYU track and field head coach Ed Eyestone said. “So this was big for them. Many of them had already qualified two weeks ago at Stanford, but this gave them an opportunity to possibly qualify in another event. And we think that happened in the case of both Connor McMillan and Aaron Fletcher in the 5,000 meters.”
McMillan is already qualified for regionals in the 10,000 meters while Fletcher qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. McMillan ran a time of 13:53.53 in the 5,000 meters this weekend, while Fletcher came in just behind him in a time of 13:55.64. Both times should qualify for regionals. Rory Linkletter ran a solid time of 14:06.94 in the event, but it may fall short of a regional-qualifying time.
Craig Merkley had a new personal best in the discus with a mark of 53.42 meters at the Beach Pacific Coast Invitational hosted by Long Beach State University on Thursday. He turned around the next day at the Mount Sac Relays to win his section in the event. He will likely qualify for regionals with the mark.
Dennis Christensen won the shot put with a mark of 17.70 meters at the Beach Pacific Coast Invitational. The mark will move him on to regionals. Nicolas Montanez finished second in his section with a time of 29:56.45 in the 10,000 meters. He will likely fall just shy of a regional-qualifying spot with that time.
The first nine women runners to compete over the weekend each set personal records, and some were fast enough to qualify for regionals. Kristi Rush won her section in the 1,500 meters with a personal-best time of 4:23.90. She will get into regionals with the time. Ashleigh Warner finished just behind with her new personal-best time of 4:25.54. Erica Birk was the next BYU runner to finish with yet another personal-best time of 4:26.31. Both Warner and Birk are on the borderline to qualify as last year it took 4:25.17 to get to regionals in the event.
Each of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase athletes improved on their marks. Lauren Shubin, 10:27, and Rush, 10:28, will both qualify for regionals. Emma Gee ran the event in 10:40, which will probably get her in as well.
Yesenia Silva ran 34:50.62 in the 10,000 meters, and Natalie Shields-Connolly ran 34:50.94. Both times will be close to getting into regionals. Kassie Nagel had a new personal best in the shot put with a mark of 14.73m. Her performance puts her at No. 8 all-time in BYU outdoor track and field history.
“It was a great meet that will prepare us really well for our home meet next weekend,” Eyestone said.
Up next is a rare home meet for BYU track and field this Thursday through Saturday at the Clarence Robison Invitational. A complete schedule of events will be posted next week.