Kevin Nielsen and Ashton Riner received All-America honors on the second day of the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field on Thursday.
Nielsen finished his BYU career with a personal-best 7,695 points in the decathlon to finish in eighth place and be named a first-team All-American. His score is good enough to give him the No. 5 mark all-time at BYU. The decathlete started off with season bests in all five of Wednesday’s events before adding a career best in the javelin (50.63m) and a season best in the 1,500m (4:28.70) on Thursday.
"What a fine way for Kevin to end his college career," BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. "He didn't let up after an impressive first day, and he did what he needed to in the 1,500m to move up from 11th to eighth in the last event."
Riner was named a second-team All-American after finishing 11th in the javelin final after throwing for 50.25m. The first-year thrower moved up BYU’s all-time record board throughout the season and finished with the No. 2 throw in BYU history with a mark of 52.36m.
"Ashton has been a real bonus for us all season long as a true freshman," Eyestone said. "I love that she doesn't mess around and gets right after it on her first throw. She'll have an opportunity to go to the U.S. Junior Championships next week and hopefully earn a spot for the IAAF U20 World Championships."
Hurdler Alyssa Dalton finished her successful career at BYU in the women’s 100m hurdles semifinal with a mark of 15.05. The two-time team captain qualified for the NCAA Championships despite being injured at the finish line at regionals and competed with the goal of finishing the race. Dalton leaves BYU with the No. 4 all-time mark in the 100m hurdles (13.20) and No. 3 all-time mark in the 60m hurdles (8.20).
"Alyssa has been a real power for us the years she's competed at BYU," Eyestone said. "She started at Oregon out of high school before transferring to BYU so it was only fitting for her to qualify for nationals and end her college career where she started it. Unfortunately, she had to compete with a brace after injuring her knee, but it was great that she was able to run her final race at Hayward Field."
Whittni Orton ran a 4:17.84 in the 1,500m semifinal to finish ninth in her heat and 19th overall. Teammate Brenna Porter finished sixth in her heat, 18th overall, of the 400m hurdles semifinal after clocking a 58.99.Comment on this story
Porter later ran on the women’s 4x400m relay team with Ellie Hedien-Quackenbush, Lauren Rawlinson and Cassidy Pinnock. The team ran a 3:39.14 to finish seventh in its heat and 20th overall.
Competition at the NCAA Championships continues for BYU track and field Friday with Matt Owens and Clayson Shumway in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase final, along with Rory Linkletter, Connor McMillan and Clayton Young in the 5,000m final. ESPN will broadcast both events with the steeplechase starting at 5:54 p.m. PDT and the 5,000m beginning at 7:25 p.m.