Sophomore Adrian Jones claimed the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase title and sophomore Albert MacArthur broke his long jump record on day three of the WAC Championships as part of three Utah Valley top-two finishes Friday at Rock Chalk Park.
After keeping a steady pace in second throughout the race, Adrian Jones' late push in the final two laps helped him get past UMKC's Marcus Johnson to secure his first career individual league title. Adrian Jones finished with a time of 9:13.28 in the tightly contested race to give UVU its first championship of the weekend.
"It's pretty crazy," said Adrian Jones. "I've waited all season for this and knew I had to show up and compete, knowing that my hard work would pay off eventually. Those last couple of laps I was thinking, 'I've put too much work into this now", and felt like I was under control the whole race. In that last pair of laps, I just knew it was time [to make a move]."
Meanwhile, MacArthur topped his former program personal best in the long jump finals with a mark of 7.83 meters to snag the second-place spot. The standout sophomore's mark — which followed a then-record 7.78-meter jump to qualify for the final round — moves into eighth in the NCAA West qualifying region and 20th in the nation.
"It's always nice to see Albert do well because he's a good leader," said Utah Valley head coach Scott Houle. "He's fun to watch because he gets excited and very animated. That was one of the better long jump competitions that I think you'll find anywhere, with four or five guys going at it all day, so I'm extremely ecstatic for what he was able to do."
Less than 24 hours after her second-place finish in the 10,000-meter race, senior McKayla Walker grabbed another piece of WAC silver in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a track personal record of 11:07.28. It also marked Walker's best steeplechase finish at a WAC competition in her career.
In addition to their top-two finishes, the Wolverines concluded the day with 15 runners advancing into the finals in 10 events and 11 others clinching All-WAC second-team awards in the throws and jumps. UVU's successes during the afternoon and evening followed a day in which the squad placed seven on either the All-WAC first-team or second-team lists.
Prior to his twin brother's victory, sophomore Andre Jones earned a trip to the finals in the 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles to lead UVU's hurdling crew. In his 110-hurdles appearance, Andre Jones posted a career-best time of 14.35 seconds to match the second-fastest mark in program history. Senior Cade Owen will also be a part of the men's 400-hurdles on the fourth and final day of the WAC Championships.
In the women's sprints, senior Alena Gillespie and junior Ashley Zulauf paced the Wolverines with their own pair of spots in Saturday's final rounds in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. The UVU sprinting duo each surpassed their season-best times in the 100, while Zulauf also notched her fastest 200 time of the year.
Junior Jordan Carder led all Wolverine men sprinters with another pair of qualifications into the final rounds. Carder advanced in the 100 with a personal record (10.47), as well as in the 200.
In the women's hurdles, senior Lexi Shaw notched the day's fastest time (1:01.66) in the 400-hurdles preliminaries to pace four Wolverines moving onto that event's last day of competition. Joining Shaw in Saturday's finals are defending WAC 400-hurdles champion Mykah Ouderkirk, as well as freshmen Suzy Robertson and Paige Young.
The three final qualifiers for UVU came in the women's 800-meter run, as senior Shevaun Ames paired with juniors Savannah Neuberger and Maddie Riggs advanced to the next stage. Ames (2:22.39) and Riggs (2:20.85) each tallied season-best times during the second 800 heat of the afternoon.
UVU ended the night in second place on the men's side and third in the women's team standings, as each finished with 53 points going into the WAC competitions finale.
The Wolverines resume action Saturday with the remaining field events at 10 a.m. MT, and the remainder of the running events at 4 p.m.