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BYU earns 21 bids to NCAA track and field nationals; SUU, UVU, Utah add 7 more

BYU javelin thrower Ashton Riner competes at the NCAA Championship's West Preliminary Meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas, May 26, 2022. The Cougars qualified 21 total athletes for the NCAA outdoor track and field national championships in Eugene, Oregon. (Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)



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PROVO — Plenty of standards were met and goals fulfilled around the country as the NCAA qualified track and field athletes for the outdoor track and field national championships in Eugene, Oregon, also know as Track Town, USA.

Several of them came from Utah schools, led by 21 from the BYU men's and women's program.

The Cougars qualified six of their 12 men's qualifiers on the final day of men's competitions Friday night, including senior sprinter Colten Yardley in the 400-meter hurdles and 1,600-meter relay. The Syracuse High alum clocked a personal-best 49.60 for seventh overall in the 400-meter hurdles to guarantee his second-straight appearance at outdoor nationals, then combined with Easton Bianchi, Jared Davis and Dallin Draper to finish the relay in 39.51 seconds for 10th overall.

"This was as perfect a night as you could've asked for," BYU coach Ed Eyestone said in a university release. "Our theme all season has been 'show up,' and our coaches and athletes certainly did that tonight."

Ashton Riner won the javelin at the NCAA West preliminary regional, hurling the spear 197 feet, 10 inches on her opening throw to cruise into nationals. Teammate Alex McAllister, a Southern Utah transfer, also qualified with a seventh-place throw of 171-5 to clinch two javelin bids from BYU for the first time in program history.

"Alex graduated from Southern Utah last year and transferred to BYU with the sole purpose of making it to nationals," BYU throws coach Niklas Arrhenius said. "She finished 13th at the preliminary meet last year. It was amazing to see her qualify for nationals on what could have been the very last throw of her collegiate career. I wanted her to be here. It means a lot to me to see her reach nationals."

The NCAA Division I outdoor track and field championships will begin next Wednesday, June 8 and run through Saturday, June 11 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Here's a look at the rest of the athletes who qualified for the national championships:

BYU

  • Colten Yardley; 400M hurdles; 49.60
  • Colten Yardley, Easton Bianchi, Jared Davis, Dallin Draper; 1,600M relay; 39.51
  • Sebastian Fernandez; 800M; 1:47.62
  • Casey Clinger; 5000M; 13:28.69
  • Brandon Garnica; 10000M; 28:47.75
  • Casey Clinger; 10000M; 28:47.45
  • Kenneth Rooks; 3000M steeplechase; 8:34.91
  • Garrett Marsing; 3000M steeplechase; 8:36.19
  • Sable Lohmeier El-Bakri; discus; 184-2
  • Cierra Tidwell-Allphin; high jump; 5-11.25
  • Courtney Wayment; 3000M steeplechase; 9:42.32
  • Lexy Halladay; 300M steeplechase; 10:06
  • Claire Seymour; 800M; 2:03.01
  • Ashton Riner; javelin; 187-10
  • Alex McAllister; javelin; 171-5
  • Michael Whittaker; javelin; 220-11
  • Aubrey Frentheway; 10000M; 33:55.84
  • Halley Folsom Walker; heptathlon; auto-qualifier
  • Dallin Vorkink; decathlon; auto-qualifier
  • Caleb Witsken; pole vault; 17-8.25
  • Zach McWhorter; pole vault; 17-8.25

Southern Utah

Las Vegas native Elizabeth White became the first jumper to qualify for nationals from SUU with a leap of 20 feet, 6 1/2 inches for 10th place at the west regionals. The senior will cap off an outdoor season in Eugene after three first-place finishes, including a program-record leap of 20-9 3/4 at the Weber State Spring Classic.

  • Elizabeth White; long jump; 20-9 3/4

Utah Valley

Everlyn Kemboi and Hannah Branch made UVU program history by earning a spot in the 10,000-meter finals at historic Hayward Field. Kemboi finished fifth at regionals after falling with just over two laps to go, recovering to finish in 33:42.57 to punch her ticket to nationals.

Branch earned the 12th and final spot in the event with a time of 34:00.23.

"I'm feeling so happy," said Kemboi. "I cannot even believe it but I'm so happy for myself, for my school, our coaches, and all the support that they've given us … for believing in me and that I could do it."

  • Everlyn Kemboi; 10000M; 33:42.57
  • Hannah Branch; 10000M; 34:00.23
  • Aaron Johnson; long jump; 7.78 meters
  • Adam Bunker; 3000M steeplechase; 8:40.0

Utah

Josefine Eriksen finished third overall in the 800-meter run to help the University of Utah send multiple athletes to outdoor nationals for the first time since 2012.

The sophomore from Stavern, Norway, and Texas-Rio Grande Valley transfer clinched an automatic spot with a school-record time of 2:02.49. She joins Brisbane, Australia, native Cara Woolnough, who punched her ticket in the 5,000-meter run with a mark of 15:50.80.

  • Josefine Eriksen; 800M; 2:02.49
  • Cara Woolnough; 5000M; 15:50.80

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for KSL.com since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.

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