After a fast start earlier in the week, the BYU men’s team seemed poised to have a big finish on the final day of competition in the NCAA Track and Field Championships, but it didn’t happen. The fourth-ranked Cougars finished with 27 points, good for eighth place Friday evening in Austin, Texas.
It was, nevertheless, BYU’s best finish since 2011 (also eighth place).
Texas Tech won the 2019 men’s championship with 60 points.
The Cougars scored 21 of their 27 points in the 10,000-meter race on Wednesday night. With four qualifiers in the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase — one-third of the field — and two strong qualifiers in the 5,000-meter run on Friday, BYU had set the table to score more points on Friday. Instead, the best the Cougars could muster between those two events were sixth, seventh and eighth places — worth 6 points.
Clayton Young, who won the 10,000-meter run 48 hours earlier, ran out of gas in the 5,000-meter run, probably feeling the effects of his victory. He was sitting third and still in the hunt for a win with 250 meters to go, but faded to sixth place in 14:09.00. Teammate Conner Mantz, who was fourth in the 10,000, finished right behind him in 14:09.20. The winner was Wisconsin’s Morgan McDonald in 14:06.01.
Earlier in the evening, the Cougars were nearly shut out in the steeplechase. In another of those tactical, pedestrian-paced races that plague championship events, the Cougars took four of the last five places and scored just 1 point.
Sophomore Matt Owens finished eighth with a time of 8:45.40, and Clayson Shumway, Kenneth Rocks and Jacob Heslington finished 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively (times: 8:53,45, 9:00.53, 9:02.03).
Only a few minutes earlier, BYU’s Talem Franco finished 11th in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:46.20, meaning BYU was shut out of points. Southern Utah’s Kasey Knevelbaard was sixth (3:42.43).
BYU’s Rickey Fantroy was 21st in the triple jump, with a best leap of 50-10.26 comments on this story
Two other local athletes were in action Friday: Frank Harris, a sophomore from Southern Utah, finished seventh in the high jump with a leap of 7 feet, three inches. JuVaughn Harrison of LSU was the winner at 7-5 ¼. Weber State’s Nathan Dunivan was 10th in the discus, with a throw of 189 feet, 5 inches.
The women, who completed the semifinals on Thursday, will return to the track Saturday for the finals. BYU will have five athletes in that competition — Andrea Stapleton-Johnson in the high jump, Brenna Porter in the 400-meter hurdles, Anna Camp in the 800-meter, Whittni Orton in the 1,500-meter and Erica Birk-Jarvis in the steeplechase. The only other in-state athlete who will be on the track Saturday is Southern Utah’s Angie Nickerson in the 5,000-meter.