Natalie Lopez

Following a strong performance at the Air Force Team Challenge last weekend, the BYU track and field teams will travel to New York City and Seattle to compete in the Dr. Sander Invitational and the University of Washington Invite. Events will begin Friday, Jan. 25, and go through Saturday, Feb. 26.

“After USA Track and Field posted rankings for the week, the men moved up to No. 9 and the women jumped up a few spots as well,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “This is an indication of the good execution that occurred last weekend. We hope to continue that consistency this week at our meets. We hope to come away from the weekend with some personal bests and are looking forward to the opportunity to get closer to qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships."

Eyestone said he is excited to see some of the top middle distance and distance runners compete at the University of Washington Invite — one of the country’s premier distance meets.

Most of the men will be competing in the mile and the 3,000m. Among these athletes are Conner Mantz, Connor McMillan and Clayton Young, making their 2019 season debuts. Eyestone anticipates they will run qualifying marks for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Mantz ended the 2018 outdoor season earning honorable mention All-America honors after finishing 22nd overall in the 10,000m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. McMillan earned second-team All-America honors in the 2018 indoor season for his 13th-place finish in the 5,000m at the Indoor Championships. Young received second-team All-America honors for the 2018 outdoor season after taking 12th overall in the 5,000m.

On the women’s side, Eyestone noted that several athletes will make their season debuts, including Erica Birk-Jarvis and Whittni Orton in the distance medley relay (DMR) and mile, as well as Courtney Wayment in the 3,000m. Birk-Jarvis will be running in her first indoor season since 2017, where she finished fourth with the DMR team at NCAA Indoor Championships. In the 2018 indoor season, Orton set a BYU school record in the mile (4:34.88) and finished seventh overall in the mile at nationals. Wayment ended the 2018 indoor season finishing seventh overall in the 3,000m at the MPSF Championships.

The rest of the event groups will travel to New York to compete at the Dr. Sander Invitational/Columbia Challenge at the Armory Track and Field Center. Eyestone said he is glad the athletes have the opportunity to compete on a 200m banked track — the same type of track the NCAA Indoor Championships meet is contested on.

Eyestone expects Andrea Stapleton-Johnson to excel in her performance this weekend after reaching a career-best and NCAA-leading mark of 1.87m in the high jump at the Air Force Team Challenge.

In continuation of the hot start to her freshman season, Eyestone says to keep an eye out for Jaslyn Gardner. Previously this season, Gardner clocked the fifth-fastest 60m in BYU history (7.51) at the BYU Indoor Invite and finished first in the 60m at the Air Force Team Challenge.

Eyestone said he also has big expectations this weekend for All-American Brenna Porter. Porter claimed the No. 2 spot on the BYU all-time list for her career-best time in the 400m (53.90) at the Air Force Indoor Challenge, along with breaking the school record in the 500m (1:11.58) at the BYU Indoor Invite earlier this season.

Eyestone anticipates strong performances from Jefferson Jarvis, Jacob Foutz and Michael Bluth this weekend in New York. Jarvis earned first place in the shot put with a mark of 17.99m and Bluth took second place in the 200m with a time of 21.52 last weekend at the Air Force Team Challenge. Foutz's performances so far have placed him on the BYU all-time list with the eighth-best mark in school history (19.52m) in the weight throw.

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A group of athletes from both the men’s and women’s team not traveling to Seattle or New York will head to Ogden, Utah, to compete in the Wildcat Open at Weber State on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26. This meet will give athletes an opportunity to compete unattached and improve performances with the goal to earn a spot on the traveling team for future meets.

Follow @BYUTFXC on Twitter for team updates from the meet. Live results can be found on the BYU track and field schedule page on the day of the meet. The schedule of events and meet information can be found on gohuskies.com and armorytrack.com.