Ten athletes head to NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships
PROVO, Utah – A squad of 10 Cougars will compete in 10 entries at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, March 8-9.
“This is what we’ve been working for all season,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “As attested by our great performances at the MPSF Championships, with the men winning and the women tying for seventh, I think the team is in a good place right now.
There will be three athletes from the men’s team and seven athletes from the women’s team competing in events starting Friday.
Representing the men’s team in both the 3000m and the 5000m will be Conner Mantz, All-American Clayton Young and All-American Connor McMillan. Competition for the 5000m will be held on Friday. Eyestone expects Young to have a strong performance in the 5000m after breaking the school record at the Iowa State Classic with a time of 13:34.46 and earning the No. 2 spot in the 5000m in the NCAA. This season in the 5000m, teammates McMillan (13:38.63) and Mantz (13:39.27) earned spots No. 8 and 9 respectively.
Three Cougars will race in the 3000m on Saturday. Mantz clocked the eighth-fastest time in the country (7:50.90) and the No. 4 BYU all-time mark in the men’s 3000m at the MPSF Indoor Championships. McMillan and Young qualified with times of 7:51.55 and 7:51.91 respectively.
“A goal for the men would be for them to score in each event, so to finish in the top eight,” Eyestone said. “We just need the three of them to do the best that they can.”
All-American Andrea Stapleton-Johnson will represent BYU’s field athletes as she competes in the high jump on Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Championships for the third year in a row. Stapleton-Johnson’s qualifying mark of 1.87m/6-1.5 tied her for the No. 1 mark in the NCAA, as well as the No.2 all-time mark at BYU.
All-American Whittni Orton will race in the women’s mile on Friday, Mar. 8, at the NCAA Indoor Championships for the second year in a row. Last year, Orton earned first-team All-America honors for her seventh-place finish with a time of 4:35.44.
Competing on Friday, the women’s distance medley relay (DMR) team will consist of Erica Birk-Jarvis, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Brenna Porter and either Anna Camp-Bennett or Kate Hunter, depending on coaching staff decisions. The team ran a 10:56.51 at the University of Washington Invite to qualify with the fourth-fastest time in the country while also breaking the school record. This is BYU’s third-straight year of qualifying in the women’s DMR. Porter previously competed on last year’s DMR team that took eighth place.
Erica Birk-Jarvis will compete for the Cougars in the women’s 3000m on Saturday. She clocked a qualifying time of 9:00.69 at the Iowa State Classic to earn a new school record and the No. 10 mark in the NCAA.
“With our women’s current rankings, they have a chance of eclipsing 10 points and hopefully pushing towards 14 or 15 points which could put us in the top 15,” Eyestone said.
Eyestone stated that the overall goals for the Cougars are for both the men’s and women’s teams to finish in the top 20 and for each athlete to earn first-team All-America honors. Athletes score points for the team based on their finishes and qualify to for All-America honors by ranking in the top eight in their respective events.
The 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships will be hosted at the CrossPlex in Birmingham, Alabama. Orton will be the first BYU athlete to compete on Friday, March 9, at 5:30 p.m. CST. Both days of the NCAA Indoor Championships will be streamed online via ESPN3. A schedule and live stats for the meet can be found on ncaa.com. Follow @BYUTFXC on Twitter for team updates from the meet.