BYU Photo
Connor McMillan (center) competes for BYU at the 2016 NCAA West Prelims.

Thirteen of BYU’s top distance runners competed in the Payton Jordan Invitational on Thursday night with a majority of the athletes gaining or solidifying regional qualifying times.

"We accomplished exactly what we set out to do," BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. "We're doing well and on a good roll. We're a few weeks away from the regional meet, so we'll take this momentum and get ready for it."

Connor McMillan clocked a personal-best 28:09.55 in the 10,000m to give himself one of the top-five times in the nation, as well as the No. 4 time in BYU history. Rory Linkletter also ran a career-best in the 10,000m with a time of 28:43.51 to earn the No. 7 all-time mark at BYU and one of the top times in the nation.

Kate Hunter and Ashleigh Warner posted career bests in the 1,500m with times of 4:20.63 and 4:21.02, respectively. In her season debut, Whittni Orton ran a 4:21.21 in the 1,500m, and all three athletes will likely have top-48 times in the region to qualify for the NCAA West Prelims.

The shakeup in BYU’s top-10 board continued with Clayton Young moving up to No. 7 all-time in the 5,000m with a time of 13:37.60. Young joins Linkletter, McMillan and Daniel Carney to give the Cougars four of the top-20 5,000m times in the nation.

BYU’s steeplechasers gave FloTrack commentators good reason to call the Cougars “Steeple U” during the Payton Jordan Invitational. Carney (8:41.22) and Clayson Shumway (8:41.69) clocked personal bests in the 3,000m steeplechase to give BYU four of the top-10 steeplechasers in the nation. Teammate Maddie Cannon ran a career-best 10:07.52 in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase to improve her regional qualifying position.

"We take pride in the fact our guys invest a lot of time and effort in technique and getting their hurdling down," Eyestone said. "When you couple good technique with hard work and great endurance capability then you can rise to have a special year."

BYU track and field also had a group of throwers compete at the Weber State Twilight Meet on Thursday. After recording a career mark at the Robison Invitational last week, Jacob Foutz threw a personal-best 60.50m in the hammer to improve his position to qualify for regionals.

The Cougars compete again this week on Saturday, May 5, at the Sacramento State Open. Follow BYU track and field on Twitter @BYUTFXC for live updates. Live stats will be available on the BYU track and field team’s schedule page on the day of the meet.

Braden Taylor works as a Sports Information Director for BYU Athletics. Contact him at: [email protected] or [email protected]