BYU track and field entered its Last Chance Meet on May 11–12, the men ranked No. 7 and the women No. 36. This was the last meet for both teams before they head to the NCAA West Preliminary, which runs May 24–26 in Sacramento, California.
Coach Ed Eyestone mentioned that one of the main purposes of the meet was to give those who were on the edge of NCAA qualification the chance to make the jump, as well as to sharpen the times and performances of those who had already qualified.
“We (wanted) to give them the opportunity to have a solid effort two weeks out from the first round of the NCAAs,” said Eyestone, a 10-time All-American and NCAA champion distance runner himself.
Most of BYU’s distance runners competed last week at the Payton Jordan Invitational in California and did not compete in the Last Chance Meet after already qualifying for regionals. Two of those runners, Connor McMillan and Rory Linkletter, finished with the No. 4 and No. 7 best times in BYU history, respectively.
Linkletter is one to watch after finishing second in the 10,000 meter at the NCAA championships last year. McMillan posted a career-best at the Payton Jordan Invitational and looks to break out in the postseason this year, having never earned a top-10 finish at nationals.
The men’s 10,000-meter race remains one of BYU’s strongest events, posting the No. 1 event group. BYU is also No. 1 in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and women’s high jump.
Before the Last Chance Meet, BYU athletes had already qualified for regionals more than 50 times.
“With weather conditions we didn’t get quite as many as we wanted,” Eyestone said. “However, I think we’re going to have close to record numbers in terms of regional participants.”
It rained almost the entire day Friday, May 11, and in the morning of May 12. However, this didn’t stop several athletes from posting season and career bests.
Hurdler Colten Yardley ran a career-best time of 51.77 in the 400 meter, breaking the top 48 in the region and putting himself on the bubble for qualifying.
The Cougars swept the men’s 800 meter with Patrick Parker earning a personal best of 1:50.87 and first place. Abraham Alvarado, who had the No. 27 nationally ranked 800-meter time of 1:48.05 heading into the meet, finished second (1:51.38), and Connor Ross ran a career best, coming in third (1:52.29).
Jefferson Jarvis threw well enough to take first in the shot put (17.86m) and second in the discus (49.74m). His teammate Seth Knowlton took first in the discus (49.84m).
The Cougars swept the women’s pole vault with Sierra Hansen finishing first after clearing 4.01 meters. Kyndal Stewart and Isabel Neal concluded the sweep with career-best vaults of 3.85 meters and 3.70 meters, respectively.
The team now awaits the official list of qualifiers as it prepares for the NCAA West Preliminaries on May 24–26.