2 BYU Cougars qualify for NCAA track and field championships at West prelims

19TRK Diljeet Taylor-Athlete's Journal 0066

19TRK Diljeet Taylor-Athlete's Journal

October 15, 2019

Photography by Nate Edwards/BYU

© BYU PHOTO 2019
All Rights Reserved  (801)422-7322
19TRK Diljeet Taylor-Athlete's Journal 0066 19TRK Diljeet Taylor-Athlete's Journal October 15, 2019 Photography by Nate Edwards/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2019 All Rights Reserved (801)422-7322 | Nate Edwards, BYU Photo

BYU’s Jenna Hutchins and Rebekah Erikson qualified for the NCAA track and field championships Thursday with their performances at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Hutchins, a sophomore from Tennessee, finished fourth in the 10,000-meter run, and Erikson, a junior from Washington, finished in a three-way tie for first in the pole vault.

Hutchins clocked a time of 34:10.30. The race was won by Oklahoma State’s Taylor Roe in 33:46.23.

All 12 qualifiers in the pole vault cleared 14 feet, 1 1/2 inches and their places had to be settled based on misses, but even that could not separate the top three — Erikson, Baylor’s Molly Haywood and Oklahoma’s Olivia Lueking.

Earlier this season, Erikson scaled 14-1 3/4 to break a nine-year-old school record set by Anginae Monteverde (14-1 1/4).

The remainder of the day’s track events consisted of qualifying heats for Saturday’s quarterfinals. Here were the highlights for Utah collegians:

BYU’s Sam Oblad, a 5-foot-5 junior from Stansbury Park, smashed a 25-year-old school record in the first round of the 400-meter dash to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals.

Oblad circled the track in 52.51 seconds, breaking a record set by Julie Bennion in 1999. It’s a measure of the caliber of the competition that she had only the 18th fastest time of the first round.

Oblad, the 2017 4A state champion in the 200- and 400-meter dashes and the high jump in 2017, resumed her track career after returning from a church mission. Since then, she has cut her high school time by 3.6 under coach Kyle Grossarth, who has had much success developing long sprinters.

Jaslyn Gardner, a senior from Enterprise and the BYU school record holder in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, delivered one of the surprises of the day by claiming the fourth fastest qualifying time in the 100, 11.03.

That would rank among the top eight times in the nation this year, but it was pushed by an illegal wind aid of 3.0 meters per second (2.0 and under is legal).

Still, it did not diminish her performance because all of the performances were wind-aided. Gardner’s heat had the lightest wind aid of any heat. The rest of the heats had wind aids ranging from 3.5 to 4.7.

BYU junior Krystie Solomon grabbed the 10th qualifying spot for Saturday’s quarterfinals of the 800-meter run with a time of 2:04.91. Utah’s Josefine Eriksen qualified with the 21st fastest time, 2:07.08, while winning the third heat.

BYU’s Riley Chamberlain and Utah’s Erin Vringer advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinals. Chamberlain had the day’s fourth fastest time (4:14.19) and Vringer the 15th fastest time (4:19.93).

Vringer’s teammate, Brianna Rinn, also claimed one of the 24 qualifying berths, placing 23rd (4:22.03).

Utah’s Harley Daniel and BYU’s Annalise Hart had the day’s 12th and 13th fastest times, respectively, to advance to the quarterfinals of the 400-meter hurdles, clocking times of 57.49 and 57.59.

Utah State’s Maddie Edwards claimed the 24th and final qualifying spot with a time of 58.69.

Abbey Bryant, a senior at Utah State, finished 25th in the first round of the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.36, missing the quarterfinals by one place.

The quarterfinals of the men’s competition will be held Friday, followed by the women on Saturday. The top 12 finishers in the West and East Preliminaries -- which are being held simultaneously in different cities -- will advance to the NCAA championships.