Fastest female sprinter in BYU history leads Cougars into Big 12 Track and Field Championships

BYU sprinter Jaslyn Gardner, right, the broke school records in both the 100- and 200-meter races at the Robison Invitational on April 27, 2024, in Provo.
BYU sprinter Jaslyn Gardner, right, the broke school records in both the 100- and 200-meter races at the Robison Invitational on April 27, 2024, in Provo. | Aaron Cornia, BYU Photo

Jaslyn Gardner has dealt with a lot of injuries and setbacks in her lengthy college track career, but the fastest female sprinter in BYU track and field history says in the long run they became blessings in disguise.

Because Gardner is still around, taking advantage of an extra year granted by the NCAA during the COVID-19 pandemic and a redshirt season brought on by a cyst on her left foot, the sixth-year graduate student gets to compete in one of the top conference championships in the country.

Gardner and the rest of the Cougars will compete in the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships this week at Baylor University’s Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium in Waco, Texas.

“I am really happy that I got to compete in the Big 12 this last year,” the softspoken Gardner said. “That’s been one of the highlights for me.”

Gardner is now the BYU record-holder in the 100- and 200-meter races, solidifying her status as the most-accomplished female sprinter in state history, high school or college, said her coach, Kyle Grossarth. She broke both records at the Robison Invitational on April 21 in Provo, posting a 11.22-second time in the 100 and a 23.10-second time in the 200.

She had already owned the 100 record, first set in 2019 and then broken again in 2021, and bettered it by 0.13 seconds. In the 200 an hour later, Gardner broke a 14-year-old record set by Mindy Neeley McClurkin in 2010, besting McClurkin’s time by .20 seconds.

“To see that continued progression throughout her career is pretty rare, to be honest,” Grossarth said. “Kids, they will see some great things happen their first year, and then it is kinda hard to keep that up.”

As a freshman way back in 2019, Gardner broke a 22-year-old record set by Windy Jorgensen of American Fork in the 100 meters in 1997. Then she set her sights on the 200 record, and finally broke it the last Saturday of April in her final home meet.

“The 200 is a little bit more challenging for Jas. She has never been one that has got a lot of strength when it comes to a little bit longer distance,” Grossarth said. “She has been committed to building up her work capacity and a little bit more speed endurance to be able to run that 200. And so yeah, she has seen that improvement this year where she was able to break the school record.”

Gardner said she is proud of that gradual improvement, knowing that what Grossarth said about sprinters sometimes failing to get faster as their college careers wear on is very true.

“I have managed to stay the course by just being patient,” Gardner said. “It has been a long journey, but I have been able to take my time and fix a lot of things I can do to get even better and faster. Like, fine-tuning the little things.”

According to, Gardner has the fourth-best time in the Big 12 this year in the 100 and the seventh-best time in the 200, so a gold medal in Waco in either event would be a surprise, but Grossarth, who coaches BYU’s sprinters, hurdlers and relay teams, isn’t putting it past her.

“It would take a (personal record) for her to win the Big 12 meet, which she is totally capable of, but the Big 12 is extremely good in the sprints,” he said. “The SEC is kinda known as the best sprint conference, but the Big 12 is just as good, if not better, in the sprints.”

After the Big 12 championships, Gardner and the Cougars will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the NCAA West Preliminaries May 22-25. Then it is on to nationals in Eugene, Oregon, June 5-8.

“I am just looking to finish my college career off on a high note,” Gardner said. “When I was being recruited out of high school, I wanted to go to a place where I could compete against top competition to make me better. The Big 12 has done that for me.”

And then what?

Gardner graduated last year with a degree in exercise and wellness. She said she is leaning toward starting a career in personal training and perhaps coaching, but is “open” to turning pro if a sponsor is willing to step up and get her started.

“I have a good idea of what it takes speed-wise and time-wise,” she said. “I feel like I would need to be a little bit faster to get a good sponsor.”

Grossarth said Gardner “has potential on the professional circuit if that is something she wants to pursue,” but he would like to see her give winter sports a try.

Yes, winter sports.

“I am really pushing her towards the Winter Olympics,” he said. “In Park City, they have a big bobsled program. Coaches there are always looking for some potential track athletes to come out and give it a try.”

The coach said Gardner would be “an amazing bobsled pusher” because of her lower body strength and explosiveness in her legs.

Gardner said she’s been thinking about it, but can’t really picture herself pushing a bobsled on ice and then jumping inside and riding down an icy course at breakneck speed.

“I guess it could be something fun to try out,” she said. “I will just see at the end of the season. … I have a bunch of options I am keeping open.”