LOGAN – A pair of Utah State student-athletes are set to compete at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this week at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
The four-day Outdoor Finals, featuring 1,215 student-athletes representing 177 institutions, including the Aggies’ Sindri Gudmundsson and Cierra Simmons-Mecham, will begin Wednesday, June 5, and conclude Saturday, June 8.
Mike A. Myers Stadium will host the 2020 Outdoor Finals after the venue also played host to the event in 2004. The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship is making its seventh appearance overall in Austin in 2019, as the event also came to the capital city of Texas in 1957, 1974, 1980, 1985 and 1992, prior to the construction of Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Student-athletes competing at this year’s Outdoor Finals hail from 56 different countries and 49 different states. More student-athletes competing in the championships call Texas home (14.4 percent, 142 student-athletes) than any other state in the nation.
For the third time in as many years, Gudmundsson, who just completed his junior season at Utah State, qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Finals and is attempting to become the school’s first three-time first-team All-American in one event since former U.S. Olympian James Parker in 2001 (hammer).
“Honestly, it is a big accomplishment,” said Utah State head track and field coach Matt Ingebritsen, who is also the Aggies’ throws coach. “For him, it is the expectation. This is what he expects to do every year, but it really does come down to the kind of kid he is, his attitude and how he takes care of himself. He is one of those guys that takes care of the little things, even though he was a little dinged up this year. We stayed patient, we backed off and we didn’t do the amount of throwing we normally would, but we kept the big picture in mind. I am really proud of him for what he has done just in this short season we’ve had, and I am excited to see how he does at nationals. I think he is going to have a good meet.”
Gudmundsson is slated to throw in the second flight of the finals of the men’s javelin on Wednesday. The first flight begins at 5:45 p.m. MT. Gudmundsson, who is ranked 12th nationally in the event, punched his ticket by placing first with a throw of 73.68 meters (241-8) at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships on May 24 at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California.
In his only other throw this season, Gudmundsson captured first-team all-Mountain West honors by placing first in the javelin with a mark of 73.69 meters (241-9) at the Outdoor Championships on May 11 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis, California.
“I am very excited,” said Gudmundsson, who earned first-team All-America honors in the javelin in 2017 (sixth place) and 2018 (third place). “Even though I don’t have very many throws under my belt this year, I’ve been throwing for a very long time, so it’s kind of like riding a bike – you just know how to do it. I love competing and I am a competitor, so it’s going to be fun, for sure.”
Simmons-Mecham will be wrapping up her stellar Utah State career by competing in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Outdoor Finals. The semifinals of the event will take place on Thursday at 6:32 p.m. MT, while the finals will be held Saturday at 4:54 p.m.
“I could not have picked a better place and group of people to be with to learn fun lessons, hard lessons and late night growing-through-homework lessons,” Simmons-Mecham said. “I couldn’t have found better coaches that were better suited to my career and my needs as an athlete. My teammates, as different as we all are, and as many as I’ve had, I wouldn’t change a single thing. It has been an incredible ride. It’s blown my mind, not anything that I ever would have expected, but new heights have been reached and it’s taught me to believe in myself.”
Simmons-Mecham, who placed eighth in the steeplechase to earn first-team All-America honors at the 2018 Outdoor Finals, finished third in the second of three heats at the West Prelims to secure her second straight automatic bid to nationals.
“I have said it more than once that one of the biggest reasons for the jump in our women’s program has been in large part due to Cierra, just kind of the vibe that she brings to the team, the leadership that she has brought to the team, having been captain for the past two years,” said Utah State head cross country coach Artie Gulden. “It has been remarkable just the way she carries herself, the way she treats people, how positive she is, it’s fantastic.”Comment on this story
ESPN has exclusive broadcast rights for the Outdoor Finals. Wednesday’s action will be streamed live on ESPN3 from 11:30 a.m.-5:40 p.m. MT, while ESPN2 will broadcast the running events beginning at 3:30 p.m. All times and networks are subject to change.
COMPETITION SCHEDULE FOR UTAH STATE ATHLETES (ALL TIMES MT)
Wednesday, June 5
3:45 p.m. – Men’s Javelin – Finals (Sindri Gudmundsson)
Thursday, June 6
6:32 p.m. – Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Semifinals (Cierra Simmons-Mecham)
Saturday, June 8
4:54 p.m. – Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Finals (Cierra Simmons-Mecham)