EUGENE, Ore. – Despite not having his personal set of poles, BYU senior Victor Weirich set a lifetime best in the pole vault and finished fifth at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. Weirich's fifth-place finish scored four points for the Cougars toward the team standings.
Pole vaulters typically have a set of poles that they use during training and competition, similar to a baseball player having his own glove. Due to the length of the poles, athletes often have to contract with a company to have them shipped to competition sites. The company charged with delivering Weirich’s poles was not able to come through and he was forced to borrow from others.
"What a great day for Victor,” BYU coach Mark Robison said. "We were scrambling for a while there but Victor remained focused and was in control. I was really, really pleased for him. He had a lifetime best and to do that at nationals without his poles was amazing."
After passing on the first height, Weirich cleared 17 feet 2.75 inches on his first attempt. He then cleared 17-8.5 and 18-0.5 on his second attempts at each height. After missing on his first and second attempts at 18-2.5, Weirich cleared on his third to clinch fifth and set his personal record.
Junior Curtis Carr finished second in his heat in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:41.74 to advance to Friday’s final. Carr was in the middle of the pack for much of the race and found himself in sixth heading into the last lap.
"Curtis just took off with about a lap to go and passed everyone but the leader," Robison said. "He was close to a lifetime best. He ran a masterful race. If he feels the same way on Friday, he has a chance to finish among the top five or six."
Senior Ryan Waite competed in the 800 meters and finished eighth in his heat with a time of 1:50.57. Waite did not move on to the final as the top two from each heat plus the next best two overall advance. Waite finished 15th overall.
Juniors Jared Ward and Tylor Thatcher will compete in Thursday's 10,000-meter final at 7:15 p.m. PT.
Kyle Chilton is the director of media relations for BYU men's basketball. He can be reached at 801-422-4909, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kylechilton.