Football and Basketball dominate the BYU headlines, but what is the programs all time most successful program? Hint… They are fast.
Provo, Ut – When it comes to sports there are Kings and then there are the rest. Football, basketball, baseball get major primetime attention year-round and bring mega moolah. If you don’t believe that just look at the plate breakdown for Mike Trout’s new contract ($61,000 every at-bat by the way for 12 years). BYU is no different, football is king with basketball coming in at second. I am sure that everyone reading this article could spout of multiple football and basketball players and the success (or lack thereof) from both teams.
But if you could tell me even one person on the Track and Field team now or historically, I would be impressed. And considering that the Cougars have been the Olympics 59 times that is pretty sad, but it is the reality.
I get it, Track and Field is not the most exciting sport to watch because a meet lasts for hours and days even. Most people only care about it when;
- A) they have a child or family member that is competing or
- B) every four years during the summer when the athlete has U.S.A across their chest or Usain Bolt is running.
Events like the 1500m run or long jump don’t exactly spell excitement. But a down to the wire finish and flying jumps are just as engaging as a great pass and catch, just with a lot less frequency.
BYU has always had an elite program with the Men capturing 28 indoor conference titles since 1970 and 29 outdoor conference championships over a similar time frame (BYU no longer has an outdoor conference). The men’s programs have produced hundreds of All-Americans like Miles Batty, Jared Ward, and Rory Linkletter. This year the Cougar’s enter the outdoor season as a top team and are currently ranked 4th in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association.
The Women are stride for stride with the men as they also have 29 outdoor conference championships to go with 18 indoor conference championships. Currently ranked 24th in the nation the women are led by Whittni Orton and Erica Birk-Jarvis.
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and our coaches have done a great job of finding the talent to come in.” It’s that simple. At least that is what Coach Ed Eyestone, head coach of the Cougars and former Olympian, told me when it comes to maintaining and winning. Get the right people and create a culture to help those people get even better.
The Cougars already have close to 30 of their 140 student-athletes that have qualified for the regional meet which is far ahead of schedule and hope to finish on the podium on the men’s side and have a top ten finish for the women.
I will be the first to say that I don’t follow the Track and Field team as well as I should, but it is always a good Saturday when you get out to the pitch for a few hours and watch the most basic human competition.
Notable Dates and Meets for the Cougar’s
April 5-6: Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Arizona
April 25-27: Robinson Invitational in Provo
May 9-10: BYU Last Chance Meet in Provo
June 5-8: NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas