Orton BYU 1500 meters NCAA

BYU's Whittni Orton competes in the 1500-meter semifinals at the NCAA Track Meet in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, June 6, 2019. Orton finished with the fifth-fastest time and moved on to Saturday's final.

The BYU women enjoyed a good first day of the NCAA Track Meet on Thursday in Austin, Texas, pushing through four athletes to Saturday’s finals.

Erica Birk-Jarvis, a junior from Coalville, sailed through the finals with a strong performance in her heat of the steeplechase. Birk-Jarvis finished third in a time of 9:52.43 to qualify automatically.

Whittni Orton finished fifth in her heat of the 1,500 meter semifinals to automatically qualify for Saturday’s final. The junior from Panguitch placed 15th in last year’s race.

Brenna Porter, who is from Logan, was fourth in the second heat of the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 57:03, jumping the two time qualifiers in the first heat. Porter survived the third heat, ending up with the fifth-fastest time and through to Friday’s final.

BYU’s Anna Camp-Bennett of Fillmore finished third in her 800-meter heat and had to wait through two other heats to see if she qualified for the finals. Camp-Bennett’s time of 2:03.65, a personal best, was the seventh fastest time and she will run in Saturday’s final. Teammate Lauren Ellsworth-Barnes was fourth in the third heat at 2:04.52 and did not qualify for the final.

Friday is a big day for the BYU men, who climbed into second place in the team race after finishing 1-3-4 in the 10,000 meter final. The Cougars scored 21 points in that event, just behind Mississippi State in the overall standings with 24.

BYU’s Ricky Fantroy Jr. will participate in the triple jump final and freshman Talem Franco is in the finals of the 1,500 meters. Four Cougars earned their way into the steeplechase final (Kenneth Rooks, Clayson Shumway, Jacob Heslington and Matt Owens). BYU’s 10,000-meter winner, Clayton Young, goes for another title in the 5,000 meters along with teammate Conner Mantz, who was fourth in the 10K race.

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

Darnell Dickson, who has been covering sports in Utah since 1989 (with a detour to Nebraska for three years somewhere in there), is currently the BYU football columnist and BYU men’s basketball beat writer.

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