Cougars perform well at NCAA Track & Field Championships

Victor Weirich competed without his regular poles at National's.
Victor Weirich’s personal best vault earned All-American status. (Photo courtesy of BYU Photo)

BYU Track and Field athletes concluded their season at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 5–7 in Eugene, Ore., with three athletes from the men’s team earning All-American honors.

The men’s team sent five athletes to the competition.

Senior pole vaulter Victor Weirich was the first of the Cougars to compete. Weirich was coming off a first-place finish at the MPSF championships and looked to place high at nationals.

“I was going into the meet saying it was my last meet so I’m going to have fun,” Weirich said. “I was feeling good just from practice and how I felt that day and the day before.”

Weirich overcame a unique situation when his poles did not arrive in Eugene on time for the competition, forcing him to share poles with a fellow competitor.

Weirich made the best of the situation and went on to post a personal best vault of 18-02.5, placing fifth in the nation and earning All-American status for the third time in his college career.

“Being an All-American is an honor, especially at BYU,” Weirich said. “BYU has always produced good pole vaulters. It’s something that means a lot to me.”

“What a great day for Victor,” head coach Mark Robison said. “We were scrambling for a while there, but Victor remained focused and was in control. I was really, really pleased for him. He had a lifetime best, and to do that at nationals without his poles was amazing.”

Junior distance runner Jared Ward placed eighth in the 10,000 meters with a time of 29:51.59. Ward was very aggressive throughout the race, holding second place for part of the race.

“I do feel like I was in the fittest shape of my life,” Ward said. “I thought, given how the field was set up, that I had a chance of racing hard and winning. I got competitive mid-race and went after the favorite. I was pleased being able to hold a top-eight finish.”

Fellow Cougar Tylor Thatcher competed in the same race, finishing in 14th place with a time of 30:07.12.

Curtis Carr was impressive in his first appearance at nationals, posting the fastest time for an American in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at 8:40.47. His time was good for fourth-place finish and was a personal record.

“Going into nationals, my goal was the top eight,” Carr said. “After the first round I had the fourth fastest time going into the finals. Going into the last lap (during finals), I think I was in 10th place, and with 300 meters to go I began my kick and I passed the pack that I was in and ended up in fourth place.”

Ward’s and Carr’s performances earned them All-American honors along with Weirich.

Ryan Waite also competed in his third outdoor NCAA Championships in the 800 meters. He finished in eighth place in a preliminary heat, failing to advance.

The Cougars tallied 10 points at the championships and finished in 24th place as a team; Texas A&M and Florida tied for first place.

“We performed well and competed well,” Robison said. “I was pleased to have three All-Americans when we had five guys. I felt like we did as well as we could.”

Kelsey Brown and Natalie Stewart represented BYU on the women’s side.

Brown ran in the 800 meters, finishing in ninth overall after the preliminary heats — one spot away from qualifying for the finals. Stewart concluded a successful senior season, placing 23rd overall in the 400 meters.

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