BYU gears up for this weekend's meets in Texas and Iowa
PROVO, Utah – The BYU track and field teams head to Texas and Iowa to compete in the Texas Tech Shootout and Iowa State Classic this week. Events will begin Friday, Feb. 8 and go through Saturday, Feb. 9.
“Both meets this weekend will have top talent,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “There’s going to be good competition and chances for improvement. These meets are all about trying to hit national-qualifying marks as well as improving marks for the conference meet cuts that will be made in preparation for MPSF.”
Eyestone is looking forward to another weekend of strong performances from the middle distance and distance runners at the Iowa State Classic after their top-ranking finishes at the University of Washington Invite. Several Cougars will be moved into different events to compete for additional national-qualifying marks.
After earning competitive marks in the 3000m, Connor McMillan, Conner Mantz and Clayton Young will be racing in the 5000m. The Cougars currently hold the ranking as the No. 1 3000m squad in the NCAA. All-American McMillan previously finished in the 3000m with a time of 7:51.55 for the eighth-fastest time in BYU history.
Eyestone is also expecting a strong 5000m race by All-American Rory Linkletter. In the 2018 indoor season, Linkletter received first-team All-America honors after taking sixth-place overall in the 5000m at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
The BYU men’s mile squad is currently ranked No. 2 in the NCAA and Eyestone noted that the Cougars will be striving for a four minute mile this weekend. Eyestone anticipates strong races from Talem Franco, Marcus Dickson, Patrick Parker and Matt Owens. Owens will be joining the mile squad after competing in the 3000m steeplechase during the 2018 outdoor season and taking sixth place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
On the women’s side, Eyestone is looking forward to seeing what Erica Birk-Jarvis and Olivia Hoj can do in the 3000m. Previously at the University of Washington Invite, Birk-Jarvis set a school record (10:56.51) in the DMR and Hoj ran the No. 2 3000m time in BYU history (9:11.75). Eyestone expects a competitive race from Whittni Orton in the mile as she looks to improve her time. Orton currently holds the indoor school record in the mile (4:34.88), which she ran at last year’s Iowa State Classic.
The rest of the event groups will travel to Texas to compete in the Texas Tech Shootout at the Sports Performance Center.
“Texas Tech has one of the fastest tracks in the country,” Eyestone said. “The sprinters and jumpers are excited to have the opportunity to go down there and improve on their marks.”
Eyestone expects Andrea Stapleton-Johnson to deliver a strong performance in the high jump after reaching a career-best mark earlier this season and maintaining the NCAA-leading mark of 1.87m/6-1.5.
Jefferson Jarvis and Austin Carter are two throwers that Eyestone anticipates will continue to compete well. At the Dr. Sander Invitational, freshman Carter threw a mark of 16.88m/55-4.5 to beat his personal record by more than a meter and ultimately take seventh. Jarvis previously took first place in the shot put (17.99m/59-0.25) at the Air Force Team Challenge and fifth in the shot put at the Dr. Sander Invitational.
Eyestone is looking forward to what sprinters Michael Bluth and Jaslyn Gardner will bring to the competition this weekend. At the Dr. Sander Invitational, Bluth earned a pair of second-place finishes in the men’s 400m and 200m. After clocking the fifth-fastest 60m in BYU history earlier this season, Gardner finished first in the 60m at the Air Force Team Challenge.
Follow @BYUTFXC on Twitter for team updates from the meet. Live results can be found on the BYU track and field schedule page on the day of the meet. The schedule of events and meet information can be found on texastech.com and cyclones.com.