BYU men's track Michael Bluth 2021

BYU's Michael Bluth broke the school record in the 400 meters while competing in the NCAA West Region Preliminaries at College Station, Texas, on Saturday, May 29, 2021.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — BYU track and field concluded regional action with 24 total bids to the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Cougars qualified 19 entries and broke two school records on Saturday to wrap up the NCAA West Preliminary Round at E.B. Cushing Stadium in College Station, Texas.

Both the men’s and women’s teams advanced double-digit entries to the national meet as the men advanced 14 entries and the women qualified 10 entries. Included in the 24 total entries is decathlete Dallin Vorkink who did not have to compete at regionals due to the NCAA automatically qualifying the top 24 multi-event athletes at the end of the regular season to the championship meet.

BYU opened Saturday with the men’s 4x100m relay team clocking a season-best 39.43 to earn a spot in the national meet. The team, consisting of Andrew Stuart, Michael Bluth, Landon Maxfield and Dallin Draper, finished fourth in the fastest heat of the day to advance as a time qualifier.

In the men’s 1500m quarterfinals, All-Americans Talem Franco (3:40.33) and Lucas Bons (3:40.45) finished in the top five of their heat to move on to nationals.

After racing in the 4x100m in the morning, Bluth competed in the quarterfinals of the 400m. The All-American ran an outstanding 45.13, the second-fastest time of the day, to advance to the NCAA Championships and break his own school record by .55 seconds.

Colten Yardley clocked a career-best 50.04 in the 400m hurdles quarterfinals to finish in the top three of his heat and advance to the semifinals in Eugene, Oregon. The All-American’s performance also marks the fifth-fastest 400m hurdles time in program history.

Both Bluth and Yardley ran on the men’s 4x400m relay team with Draper and Maxfield. The team ran a season-best 3:04.52 to advance to the national meet as a time qualifier.

In the women’s high jump, Cierra Tidwell Allphin cleared a career-best 1.82m/5-11.5 to finish in the top 12 and move on to the final at Hayward Field. Her performance in the high jump marks the ninth-best in program history.

All-Americans Whittni Orton (4:10.18), Anna Camp-Bennett (4:13.38) and Kate Hunter (4:14.41) each finished in the top five of their respective heats in the 1500m quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals in Eugene. Hunter’s career-best time of 4:14.41 solidified her spot as No. 7 on the BYU Top 10 list.

Both Orton and Camp-Bennett also doubled in a second event on Saturday. Orton placed third overall in the 5000m (15:58.32) to qualify for the national meet in her second event and Camp-Bennett placed second in her heat of the 800m (2:04.79) to advance to nationals in her second event. Joining Camp-Bennett in the 800m is Claire Seymour who finished second in her heat with an outdoor personal record of 2:04.07.

The Cougars had two runners advance in the men’s 3000m steeplechase and another two qualify for the semifinals in the women’s steeplechase. Garrett Marsing won his heat with a time of 8:38.68 while All-American Clayson Shumway had an impressive comeback late in his race to complete the event in 8:40.67 and advance as a time qualifier.

All-American Courtney Wayment ran the fastest steeplechase of the day with a time of 9:42.02 to automatically advance to the semifinals. The time also marked the second-best steeplechase performance all-time at an NCAA West Preliminary Round. All-American Sara Musselman completed the race in a career-best 9:55.98 to advance to the next round with Wayment and move up to No. 6 on the BYU Top 10 board.

In the men’s 5000m semifinals, Casey Clinger completed the race in 13:52.21. The All-American finished just outside the top three in his heat and advanced as the top time qualifier.

The women’s 4x400m relay team closed out the meet for the Cougars in impressive fashion. Meghan Hunter, Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes, Seymour and Alena Ellsworth broke their own school record, set earlier this season, by 3 seconds with a time of 3:33.30 to move on to the semifinals at the championship meet.

On Wednesday, the Cougars had three athletes punch their tickets to the 2021 NCAA Championships. Cameron Bates moved on in the javelin, Zach McWhorter advanced in the pole vault and Conner Mantz qualified in the 10,000m. Before the meet was postponed on Friday, Dallin Shurts secured his spot at nationals in the men’s discus.

The 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will begin Wednesday, June 9 and run through Saturday, June 12. The national meet will be hosted at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Information regarding the NCAA Championships can be found on http://ncaa.com.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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