BYU track and field starts strong in season opener

The BYU track and field team opened up the indoor season strong at the Cougar Collegiate Invitational. (photo by Ari Davis)
The BYU track and field team opened up the indoor season strong at the Cougar Collegiate Invitational. ( Ari Davis)

Men’s and women’s track and field shone this weekend at the Cougar Collegiate Invitational, its first meet of the indoor season. The Cougars finished with 11 first-place finishes for the men and seven first-place finishes for the women.

“I think it was a very successful meet because we’re coming off vacation,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “Our team did very well on both the men’s and women’s sides.”

On the men’s team, sophomore Shaquille Walker stood out with a time of 1:01.05 in the 500-meter race.

“Shaquille Walker just looked incredible,” Eyestone said. “I think big things are in store for him in both the 400 and the 800.”

Walker’s time was just 0.42 seconds slower than the collegiate record in the race, but Walker looks to progress even further throughout the season.

“It was close; I was happy with it,” Walker said. “I have some big goals. I’m looking forward to running the 800 at future meets, since that’s my main event.”

Junior Angela Shields also performed remarkably well, setting personal records in both the 60-meter hurdles and the 300 meters, with times of 9.19 and 40.31 seconds respectively.

“I wasn’t supposed to do really good today,” Shields said. “It’s just a good confidence boost. It feels good to come out this strong already, and hopefully I can just keep getting better.”

Other highlights include first-place victories for sophomore Jackson Walker with 5,237 points in the heptathlon; sophomore Diamond Thomas with 7.75 seconds in the 60-meter race; and senior Steve Flint with 8:24.66 in the 3,000 meters.

The Cougars’ promising start indicates a season worth paying attention to, and both athletes and coaches have high hopes for upcoming meets.

“This meet really helps establish for us who the people are who need to be traveling in uniform for us and representing BYU, hopefully, all the way into the national meet,” Eyestone said

The Cougars will continue the indoor season at their next meet in Idaho at the Boise State Ed Jacoby Invitational on Jan. 16–17.

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