On Friday's opening day of the NCAA West Track and Field Regional in Northridge, Calif., athletes representing all of Utah's five universities got their chance to compete with the best competition that colleges out west have to offer.
While all the schools were well represented, it was Brigham Young University junior Kyle Perry who set the pace for the Beehive State by finishing second in the 5000-meter run and earning himself a spot in next week's NCAA National Championship meet.
Perry ran the 5K in 13 minutes 55.81 seconds, while Southern Utah's Mark Currell finished behind Perry in sixth place with a time of 14:45.91.
The Cougars also got a great performance from senior Ashley McAllister, who cleared 13 feet, 7.75 inches in the pole vault, which was good enough for a fourth-place tie overall. Utah State's Sonia Grabowska finished in 10th place overall in the same event.
BYU also earned points from Bryce Bergen and Chase Dalton, who finished seventh in the high jump (6 feet, 9 inches) and javelin (218-2), respectively. Sean Richardson and Kyle Baker finished 14th and 17th in the javelin, and Chase Taylor was 18th representing the Aggies.
All the running events, besides the 5K, only held preliminaries for their events Friday, but several local athletes fared well enough to qualify for this afternoon's finals.
BYU's Carlee Clark-Platt ran the 800-meter run in 2:06.58, which was the second fastest time of the day and put her in the finals. Teammate Stacy Slight also made finals by running a 2:07.76 and made her the seventh seed. BYU's Katie Palmer and Weber State's Haley Reeves just missed the finals after coming in ninth and 11th respectively in the 800.
The University of Utah's Chelsea Shapard ran the fourth-fastest time of the day in the women's 400-meter hurdles to put herself in the finals, and BYU's Sandra Mazan will be just behind her with a seventh seed.
Silas Pimentel, a freshman from Utah State, showed he could hang with the big boys by making finals in two events. Pimentel goes into the 100- and 200-meter dash finals with the seventh-best time in both, after running a 10.57 and 21.28 respectively on Friday.
SUU's 4x100-meter relay team of Shaka Richardson, Dontae Florial, Nick Miller and DeWayne Lewis ran a 40.78 in Friday's prelims and will be the seventh seed in today's finals.
There were three Cougars and one Wildcat in the 1,500-meter prelims, but BYU's Tyrel Jensen was the only one of the four to qualify for finals, finishing in 3:45.90.The final day of competition will begin with field events starting this morning and track events in the afternoon.