BYU’s Jaslyn Gardner turns in star performance at NCAA track prelims

BYU sprinter Jaslyn Gardner recently broke school records in both the 100- and 200-meter races.
BYU sprinter Jaslyn Gardner recently broke school records in both the 100- and 200-meter races. | BYU Photo

For the second time in three days, BYU’s Jaslyn Gardner delivered one of the most surprising performances in the NCAA West Preliminaries track and field meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Saturday.

The senior from Enterprise finished third in the 100-meter dash with a superb time of 11.00, which would be a huge improvement over her school record of 11.22, but it was wind-aided — barely.

An aiding wind of 2.0 or less is legal; in Gardner’s case, the wind was over the allowable limit by a mere .01 of a second.

Gardner, who began collegiate competition in 2019, was no better than sixth in the Big 12 championships two weeks ago with a time of 11.35, but she has caught fire at the end of her collegiate career.

She ran a wind-aided time of 11.07 in Thursday’s first round.

“I’m feeling really good. I feel like I executed my race well and I ended up running a good time,” said Gardner. “It definitely feels good to get back out and run some faster times.

“I was a little injured earlier this season so it took me a little bit to be patient with myself to get to this point of dropping my times a little faster, so it feels good to have a big drop like that.”

Gardner was one of seven women from BYU who qualified in individual events for the NCAA championships (one of them in two events), which will be held June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.

The top 12 finishers in the West and East Preliminaries, held simultaneously in different cities, advance to the national championships.

BYU’s Sadie Sargent, a senior from Coalville, placed third in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:54.1, about a half-second behind Stanford’s Sophia Kennedy.

That means Sargent has qualified for two events at nationals. On Thursday she qualified for the 10,000-meter run with a fourth-place finish.

BYU’s Gretchen Hoekstre, a junior from Oregon, placed 10th in the discus. She threw 187 feet, 2 inches, breaking the school record for the second time in two weeks.

BYU sophomore Riley Chamberlain, a sophomore from California, placed fifth in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:13.23. Teammate Taylor Lovell, a sophomore from Arizona, placed fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

The top 11 athletes in the high jump cleared the same height — 6 feet, 1/2 inch — including BYU’s Cierra Allphin, and thus all of them qualified for nationals.

BYU pole vaulter Rebekah Erikson also qualified for nationals in the pole vault on the first day of the preliminaries two days earlier.

For the second time in two days, BYU’s Sami Oblad, a junior from Stansbury Park, broke the school record in the 400-meter dash, covering the distance in 52.35 in Saturday’s quarterfinals. That proved to be the 17th fastest time of the day and failed to advance her to the national championships.

She broke a 25-year-old record on Thursday by clocking 52.51.

Meanwhile for the University of Utah, Josefine Eriksen, a junior from Norway, finished sixth in the 800-meter run with a fine time of 2:02.59, barely falling short of her own school record.

Teammate Harley Daniel, a sophomore from Oregon, grabbed the last qualifying spot in the 400 hurdles, posting a time of 57.45, which makes her the second fastest in school history.

BYU’s Annalise Hart, a junior from Colorado who ran 57.07 in the Big 12 championships, finished 20th in the NCAA quarterfinals with a time of 58.40.

Utah State’s Maddie Edwards was 17th in 58.25.

Utah’s 4 x 400-meter relay team qualified for nationals, placing 10th with a time of 3:32.60. BYU was 13th, missing qualification by one place.