With the NCAA Track and Field Championships finished, the Cougars are leaving with mixed feelings about their performance.
With the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships finished, BYU will returning from Texas with some mixed feelings both on the men’s and women’s side. Both teams went with some high hopes and loaded events, in which some panned out well while others sort of fell apart during the race.
The women’s track and field team arrived to the NCAA Championships without much hope of finishing in the top ten. Although quite a few athletes qualified to compete, most of them were projected to finish in the bottom half of their races, which when compared to other sports, being a top 20 athlete in any position in the country is a really good accomplishment.
Through the first three days the Cougars didn’t score any points, however did have success with quite a few athletes making it into the final that took place on Saturday. Erika Birk-Jarvis appeared to be well on her way to a top three finish when in one of the final hurdles in the 3000 meter steeplechase she stumbled. Despite the setback she only fell back to fifth place. Whittni Orton also scored a point for the Cougars in the 1500 meter run. Anna Camp-Bennet outperformed her expectations and took eight place in the 800 meter.
Perhaps the surprise of the meet was Brenna Porter who slipped into the 400 meter hurdle final as the final qualifier. In the final she pulled off a fifth place finish and scored four points for the team.
Overall, the women’s team finished in 25th place overall, which considering that they came into the championships ranked 15th in the nation and given the points left off the table for the fall in the steeplechase, the Cougars did about what they were expected to finish.
The men’s team started off the meet on Wednesday night looking as though they may run away with the entire meet. The problem with the men’s team is that they rely heavily on their distance runners which can only realistically run one really good race whereas a good sprinter like Texas Tech’s Divine Oduduru is able to run the 100 and the 200 without any real risk of being too tired to run both well.
In the first night, BYU took first, third and fourth in the 10,000 meter run scoring 21 points in the single event. On Friday night, it appeared that the Cougars may have another high scoring event in the 3000 meter steeplechase that featured four BYU runners in the field of 12, however only Matt Owens finished in a scoring position securing only one point. That race, although not likely to have the same finishes as the 10,000 meter should have scored at least a few more points considering only four runners didn’t score points, and three of them ended up being from BYU. Finally, in the 5000 meter run, Conner Mantz and Clayton Young took 6th and 7th place, which was all that could really be asked for after their 1st and 3rd place finishes in the 10K.
Overall, the team finished in 8th place, which for scoring zero points in the sprints or field events is nothing to be ashamed of. The team came into the race ranked fifth in the nation, and finished only five points from finishing in the fourth place.