US Olympic track and field trials: Former BYU standout Courtney Wayment bound for Paris

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SALT LAKE CITY — Kenneth Rooks won't be the only former BYU steeplechaser headed to the Paris Olympics.

Courtney Wayment finished second in the steeplechase final in a personal-best time of 9 minutes, 06.50 seconds to clinch her career-first Olympic berth Thursday at the U.S. track and field trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Nike's Val Constien, a former Colorado standout only a year removed from a torn ACL, finished first in a meet-record time of 9:03.22, and former Boise State All-American Marisa Howard was third in 9:07.14 to round out the steeplechase squad for the Paris games.

Three years after finishing fourth at the trials for Tokyo in 9:23.09 (when Constien was third to clinch the final spot with Team USA), Wayment made sure that didn't happen again.

"That fourth place never leaves you," she told NBC after the race. "Last Olympic trials, Val got that third spot, and when you watch your dreams run away from you in the last 30 seconds, it makes you feel something you don't want to feel again. The honor is all mine, and it goes out to a lot of people behind me."

With Boston Athletic's Annie Rodenfels setting an incredibly fast pace early, Wayment took her spot at the head of the pack before overtaking the lead just over five minutes into the race.

But she fell to fourth at the bell lap as Constien surged to a final-lap surge. The former collegiate national champion fell as far behind as fourth before finding a late surge in the final 100 meters and finishing second behind Constien's Olympic trials record.

Besides Constien, only two athletes have run a faster time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase this year: Emma Coburn and Utah's Run Elite Program recent signee Courtney Frerichs, the Olympic and world championship medalists and American record holders who missed Thursday's trials due to injury.

"I am so proud Courtney's gutsy effort today," said BYU coach Diljeet Taylor, who still trains Wayment. "She was composed at the end of the race and executed the last water jump and barrier perfectly. She raced with confidence and I'm excited for her to take this momentum into Paris."

Rodenfels finished eighth with a personal-best time of 9:22.66, just ahead of BYU's Lexy Halladay-Lowry, who ran a personal-best 9:22.77.

Grant Fisher, the three-time American distance record holder, kept his dreams of an Olympic double alive after qualifying for Paris in the 10,000-meter race.

The former Stanford star who trains in Park City and signed with Run Elite Program before heading to Eugene finished third in his preliminary heat in the 5,000 meters and advanced to Sunday's finals with a time of 13:24.78.

BYU All-American Casey Clinger finished 22nd overall in 13:36.35 and did not advance to the final. After finishing fifth in the 10,000-meter final earlier in the trials, Clinger drew the No. 1 lane assignment.

The American Fork alum settled into the pack, sitting in eighth place with 800 meters remaining and ninth when the bell rung for the final lap. But Clinger faded during a final spurt, when Nike's Cole Hocker finished with a 2:43.88 final split to finish first in the heat in 13:33.45, to finish ninth.

Former Utah State standout Dillon Maggard, who runs professionally for Brooks Beasts, was 14th in the same heat and 28th overall in 13:41.51.

BYU All-American thrower Dallin Shurts threw 60.17 meters (197-5) for 11th place in the first round of the men's discus to qualify for Saturday's final.

Former BYU distance standout Anna Camp-Bennett, a Millard High product who now runs professionally with Adidas, finished third in the 1,500-meter first round, advancing to Friday's semifinals with a third-place time of 4:18.62.

Abraham Alvarado, the 2017 BYU graduate, finished eighth in the 800-meter preliminary round to advance to Friday's semifinals with a time of 1:46.17.

BYU rising senior Sebastian Fernandez finished 35th in the first round of the 800-meter qualifiers, a non-qualifying mark of 1:54.17.

Riley Chamberlain added a 4:18.62 mark in the 1,500-meter early round, likewise failing to advance to the finals after 37th place.

The trials continue Friday at 5 p.m. MT, when Kelsi Oldroyd will become the first Utah Valley athlete to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials during her collegiate in the javelin throw. BYU's Alysa Keller will also throw the javelin in Friday's qualifying round.

Camp-Bennett will run in the 1,500-meter semifinal at 6:53 p.m. MDT, and Alvarado will compete in the 800-meter semifinal at 7:39 p.m. MDT.


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