Senior Halley Folsom Walker competes at MPSF Championships. (BYU Photo)

BYU track and field wraps up indoor season with Cougar Invitational II

Several athletes achieved personal bests while rewriting the school record books as BYU concluded its regular season at the Cougar Indoor Invitational II Friday and Saturday.

Freshman Cailee Faulkner set the pace for the meet as she broke the school pole vault record by clearing 4.36m/14.375, surpassing the previous record set in 2020 by Elise Romney. Faulkner was followed up by teammate Rebekah Ross, who set her own PR of 4.12m/13-06.25, overwriting her top-10 mark set in January.

Junior pole vaulter Caleb Witskin set a PR of his own with a clearance of 5.55m/18-2.50. That vault put his name at No. 3 all-time in BYU history and helped secure his hopes for nationals as he moved up from 13th best to seventh best on the qualifying list.

Senior Halley Folsom Walker continued with the momentum by hurdling, sprinting, throwing and jumping her way to a top-five pentathlon performance in school history with a first-place score of 4109. Along the way, she set a new PR in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.72.

Dallin Vorkink took care of business on the men’s side as he climbed from No. 5 to No. 4 in school history with his heptathlon finish of 5,618. He became just the fourth BYU athlete ever to surpass a score of 5,600. 

“First off I feel pretty tired, but I’m really happy with my performance,” Vorkink said. “In the heptathlon, it’s hard because there are so many events, and it’s hard to PR in every event, but in this meet I was able to focus and have pretty solid marks in most of my events.”

Speaking of PRs, Vorkink set personal bests in the 60m, 60m hurdles, and 1000m along with tying his PR in the long jump. “It’s hard to ask for much more than that, so I’m pretty happy with that.”

Sable Lohmeier El-Bakri won the women’s weight throw with a mark of 18.11/59-5, a score that fell just short of her No. 4 all-time mark of 18.12. Leah Thompson and Jayda Lee also entered the top-10 leaderboard by notching throws of 17.34/56-10.75 and 17.17/56-4, respectively.

The women throwers continued the success with two throws that breached top-five territory in the record books. Jessica Thompson marked a No. 4 all-time throw of 16.18/53-1, her new PR, followed by Gretchen Hoekstre’s 16.09. Hoekstre set the No. 2 all-time mark earlier this year with a distance of 17.10/56-1.25.

As for track events, the women got off to a hot start with the mile. Madison Moffitt finished first with a personal best of 4:56.69 followed by Alissa Fielding and Lizzie Dildine who finished second and third.

The 800m also proved to be a success for the women as Anastaysia Davis, Krystie Solomon and Ali Baker swept the top-three, along with the 200m which resulted in three additional personal bests.

Multiple other athletes set their own personal records in both field and running events. AJ Benyon and Harrison Gould both set new bests in the shot put and Danny Bryant achieved his own PR in the weight throw Friday. Camilla Andam and Catherine Phipps set new personal bests in the 60m along with Chloe Taylor and Georgi Ana Wilson who PR’d in the 400m Saturday.

Head coach Ed Eyestone commented about the skill of this team, saying they perform well at home, and he was absolutely right. BYU track and field had 20 national qualifiers going into the meet and could possibly tack on a few more as they have their sights set on the NCAA Indoor Championships Mar. 11-12.

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