BYU men win MPSF conference championship, multiple women rewrite history
SEATTLE — BYU men’s track and field won the 2020 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships as several athletes moved up the record boards at the University of Washington Dempsey Indoor Center on Saturday.
“What a great effort from the team,” BYU head coach Ed Eyestone said. “That’s the cool thing about being in such a deep conference, we get to compete against some of the best athletes in the country. It was exciting to watch Rickey win the triple jump, as well as watching Talem get a personal-best time in the 800. I think our athletes came together and got to see how much of a team sport track and field truly is. I’m glad that our guys are able to celebrate this conference championship.”
The Cougars won the meet with 80 points, narrowly edging second-place Arizona who had 76. The top eight finishers in each event are able to score points that their team accumulates throughout the meet.
Brandon Garnica won the men’s 5000m with a time of 13:52.92 and Connor Weaver came in seventh with a time of 14:05.69. Talem Franco took first in the men’s 800m with a personal-best time of 1:49.89.
Team captain Rickey Fantroy Jr. won the men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.50m/50.8, edging out the second-place jumper by a single centimeter.
Michael Bluth won the men’s 400m with a season-best time of 46.66. Matt Owens took third in the mile with a time of 4:01.42.
“What an athlete that Mike Bluth is, what a testament of his work ethic and grit to win the 400. Brandon was huge in the 5000 holding off the pack, and we had great efforts from many of our guys in different events.”
Freshman pole vaulter Zach McWhorter placed third in the men’s pole vault with a mark of 5.32m/17-5.50.
In the men’s 3000m, Jacob Heslington took fifth with a time of 8:03.64 and Garrett Marsing earned a personal-best time of 8:06.89.
The men’s DMR (distance medley relay) team, which consisted of Garrett Marsing, Blake Ellis, Talem Franco and Jacob Heslington finished in third with a time of 9:45.50.
Senior hurdler Jesus Serrano ran 8.04 in the men’s 60m hurdles to qualify for the finals and placed sixth in the finals with a time of 8.05. Derek Sorensen also scored for BYU in eighth place in the men’s 200m with a time of 21.82.
Heptathletes Dallin Vorkink and Caleb Witsken both threw for personal-best marks in the men’s heptathlon shot put with marks of 13.24m/43.43 and 13.21m/43.33, respectively. They also placed second and third, respectively. Brian Matthews finished sixth overall (5,308) in the heptathlon and Vorkink took eighth (5,195).
On the women’s side, All-American Anna Camp-Bennett had a historic day with two moves up the BYU record boards. She is now No. 4 in the women’s mile with a personal-best time of 4:38.54 and No. 5 in the women’s 800m with a time of 2:04.19.
“Anna had an outstanding day,” Eyestone said. “We had incredible performances from our women’s team in the Ellsworth sisters, Sophie Lasswell, Elise Romney and so many others. These girls are rewriting BYU history.”
Also in the women’s 800m, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes moved up to No. 6 in BYU history with a time of 2:04.79. Her sister, Alena Ellsworth, is now No. 10 all-time in the women’s 400m with a time of 55.58, an indoor personal-best.
Sophie Lasswell ran a PR in the women’s 5000m of 16:14.85 to place third, which was good for No. 7 all-time in BYU history. Teammates Aubrey Frentheway placed seventh with a time of 16:34.85 Haley Johnston ran a personal-best to place eighth with a time of 16:34.86.
Senior Elise Romney (4.10m/13.45) placed second overall in the women’s pole vault. Isabel Neal vaulted a season-best 3.85m/12.63 en route to a sixth-place finish.
Multi-event athlete Halley Folsom had a career day in the women’s pentathlon, earning several personal-bests en route to a sixth-place finish. Her 3,661 point total was a career-best, as well as her 11.88m38.11 shot put toss and a personal-record 9.24 in the 60m hurdles. Folsom also finished second in the 800m portion of the pentathlon with a time of 2:18.24.
In the women’s shot put, Sierra Freeland grabbed sixth with a mark of 14.96m/49.1. Sable Lohmeier placed 11th out of 30 athletes in the women’s weight throw, dropping a mark of 16.70m/54.79.
High jumping freshman Cierra Tidwell placed seventh overall for the Cougars with a mark of 1.66m/5.4 in her MPSF Championship debut. Fellow freshman Lauryn Ford placed eighth in the women’s long jump with a mark of 5.63m/18′-4.7″ to score for her team.
The Cougars will conclude their 2020 indoor campaign at the NCAA Indoor National Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 13-14.