Natalie Lopez | Posted: 26 Feb 2020 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Cougars set goals for MPSF Championships

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Whittni running, MPSF meet information

PROVO, Utah – The BYU track and field team returns to Seattle to begin the championship portion of the season at the 2020 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. The meet will begin Friday, Feb. 28 and wrap up on Saturday, Feb. 29. 

“This weekend we have a two-fold mission – to put our potential-qualifying athletes in the best possible events to prepare them for nationals and for those that have not yet qualified to be in a position to earn season bests,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. 

The No. 9-ranked BYU women’s team will compete against 21 teams, headlined by No. 4 USC, No. 7 Oregon, No. 8 Stanford, No. 10 Washington, No. 13 Colorado and No. 19 UCLA. The men’s track and field team will face 14 opponents including No. 5 Oregon and No. 12 USC. 

The top-27 athletes from both teams gear up to compete at the MPSF Championships with several goals across the board. Eyestone noted that the first team goal set by the BYU coaches is for the Cougars to earn season-best marks.

“We’re taking our top-27 men and top 27-women with the goal of scoring as many points as we can, but also earning as many season bests as possible,” Eyestone explained. “Each group input their forecasts for the number of season bests they can earn. We will work for that over the two-day competition.”

BYU’s second focus is for those athletes that have earned strong potential-qualifying spots to compete in different events that will best prepare them for the national meet in two weeks. For example, All-American Whittni Orton and Talem Franco will both race in the 800m for the first time this season. 

Orton currently leads the nation in the 3000m with a time of 8:49.63, along with ranking No. 2 in the mile and No. 4 in the 5000m. Franco holds the No. 12 spot in the mile and is a crucial leg of the sixth-fastest distance medley relay in the country (9:30.28). Franco will be competing in the 800m as speed training.

The MPSF meet will also provide another chance for Cougars that are close to earning national-qualifying times to finish higher. 

“We’ll try to give opportunities for those that are on the bubble to qualify,” Eyestone said. “That includes Michael Bluth in the 400m, Brandon Garnica in 5000m and Jake Heslington in the 3000m. That’s another excellent mission for this weekend.”

Bluth ran a season-best 46.79 in the 400m at the Nike Boise Invite and currently leads the Cougars in the 400m. Heslington currently sits at No. 23 in the 3000m (7:55.21) and Garnica is barely outside the bubble at No. 19 in the 5000m after running a personal-best time of 13:45.69.

Follow BYU track and field on Twitter and Instagram @BYUTFXC for team updates. 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 mpsports.org

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