SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of Utah athletes competed in the NCAA west regional preliminary round over the weekend at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
The best of the best qualified for the NCAA outdoor track and field championships. That includes All-Americans from Utah and Weber State — and even a handful of reigning cross country national champions from BYU.
After the 2020 championships were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 NCAA outdoor track and field championships will be held June 9-12 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Here's a look at each qualifier from the state of Utah, in alphabetical order by school:
The Cougars qualified 24 bids from an NCAA-high 69 entries at the west preliminary round, held at E.B. Cushing Stadium. Qualifying bids include 14 from the men's team and 10 from the women's team, as well as decathlete Dallin Vorkink, who did not have to compete in the regional round after previously qualifying in the top-24 for multi-event athletes by the end of the regular season.
Among the highlights were Conner Mantz, the Sky View High product who will try to become the second consecutive Cougar to win the 10,000-meter national title after Clayton Young won the most recent title in 2019 — a win that paced BYU to an eighth-place team finish.
Here are the other qualifiers:
- 4x100m relay: Andrew Stuart, Michael Bluth, Landon Maxfield, Dallin Draper, season-best 39.43 seconds.
- 4x400m relay: Michael Bluth, Colten Yardley, Dallin Draper, Landon Maxfield; season-best 3:04.52 seconds; Meghan Hunter, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Claire Seymour, Alena Ellsworth, school-record 3:33.30.
- 4x100m: Michael Bluth, 45.13 seconds to set a school record.
- 400m hurdles: Colten Yardley, career-best 50.04 seconds.
- High jump: Cierra Tidwell Allphin, career-best 5 feet, 11.5-inches.
- 1,500m: Whittni Orton, 4:10.18; Anna Camp-Bennett, 4:13.38; Kate Hunter, career-best 4:14.41).
- 5,000m: Whittni Orton, 15:58.32.
- 800m: Anna Camp-Bennett, 2:04.79; Claire Seymour, 2:04.07.
- 3,000m steeplechase: Garrett Marsing, 8:36.68; Clayson Shumway, 8:40.67.
- 3,000m women's steeplechase: Courtney Wayment, 9:42.02; Sara Musselman, career-best 9:55.98.
- 5,000m: Casey Clinger, 13:52.21.
- Javelin: Cameron Bates, 233 feet, 4 inches.
- Pole vault: Zach McWhorter, 17 feet, 10.5 inches.
- 10,000m: Conner Mantz, 29:10.91.
- Discus: Dallin Shurts, 184 feet, 10 inches.
Distance running standout Poppy Tank qualified for two events at the NCAA outdoor meet with a seventh-place finish in the 5,000-meter Saturday at the NCAA west regionals.
All-American Jill Molen is the only other Utah women's track and field athlete to qualify for multiple events in the same championships, when she raced in both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races in the inaugural women's event in 1982.
"Poppy ran another terrific race," Utah coach Kyle Kepler said in a team statement. "She was patient, smart and tough throughout. That is a very challenging double that many not try and few get through in both events. To qualify in both is rare and a special opportunity in two weeks."
- 5000m: Poppy Tank, 16:00.19.
- 10,000m: Poppy Tank, 33:39.22.
The Wildcats sent three athletes through to the NCAA women's championship, headlined by cross country All-American Summer Allen in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Allen finished fifth in the event with a career-best time of 9:47.51 — a mark that also represents the third-fastest in school history.
Here are all three championship qualifiers from Weber State. All three won Big Sky titles at the conference meet earlier this month:
- 3,000m steeplechase: Summer Allen, career-best 9:47.41.
- 10,000m: Lexie Thompson, 33:41.75.
- 400m hurdles: Kate Sorensen, season-best 57.59.