BYU delivered another promising performance at the NCAA Track and Field Championships Thursday in Austin, Texas, advancing four athletes to Saturday’s finals.
After watching the BYU men’s team steal the show a day earlier, the women took their turn on another day devoted mostly to semifinal competition.
As expected, BYU’s Erica Birk-Jarvis, who had the second-fastest time in the nation entering the meet, qualified for the finals of the steeplechase. Running in the slowest of the two heats, Birk-Jarvis, a senior from Coalsville, finished with the seventh-fastest time in the semifinals (third in her heat). Two-time NCAA champion Allie Ostrander of Boise State won the other heat with a time of 9:44.32.
BYU’s Whittni Orton, a junior from Panguitch, finished fifth in her heat to advance to the finals of the 1,500-meter run. She had the 12th-fastest time out of the 12 qualifiers. Oregon’s Jessica Hull had the day’s fastest time, 4:12.02.
BYU’s Brenna Porter, a senior from Logan, finished second in her heat and fifth overall with a time of 57.03. Only .26 of a second separated second place from sixth place. Porter broke a long-standing school record a few weeks ago with a time of 56.89.
BYU’s Anna Camp, a junior from Fillmore who had the 12th-fastest time in the nation heading into the competition, was one of eight women to advance to the finals of the 800-meter run. She placed third in her heat (seventh overall) with a time of 2:03.65. That was .04 of a second faster than her lifetime best.
Meanwhile, sophomore teammate Lauren Ellsworth, who entered the meet with the third-fastest time in the nation (2:02.49), failed to advance to the finals. She found herself in a slow, tactical heat and finished 11th overall with a time of 2:04.52. Penn’s Nia Akins had the day’s fastest time, 2:02.88.
Andrea Stapleton-Johnson, BYU’s other entry in the meet, will not compete until Saturday. She has the leading high jump mark in the nation.
The best performance of the day among local athletes was delivered by Weber State’s Tawnie Moore. Running in the trials of the 100-meter hurdles, she finished 11th with a sensational time of 13.03, breaking her own Big Sky Conference record of 13.13.3 comments on this story
Only two Utah collegiate athletes have ever run faster and both were Olympians who competed for BYU — Tiffany Lott-Hogan ran 12.72 in 1997 and Kirsten Bolm 12.86 in 1999. Lott-Hogan began coaching at Weber four years ago and seems to have made a difference. Moore’s best time in high school was 14.53. Weber qualified two hurdlers for this meet, the other being sophomore Kate Sorensen, who set a school record of 57.46 two weeks ago in the NCAA prelims. Notwithstanding, neither Sorensen nor Moore advanced to the finals.
Another local athlete also competed Thursday. Utah State’s Cierra Simmons-Mecham, a senior from Soda Springs, Idaho, placed 20th in the trials of the steeplechase with a time of 10:23.90 and failed to advance to the finals. She placed eighth in last year’s NCAA final with a school-record time of 9:49.33.
In the only men’s competition of the day, BYU’s Brian Matthews placed 11th in the decathlon. He was ranked 24th coming into the meet.