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BYU track: Seven athletes qualify for regionals

Seven BYU track and field athletes had regional qualifying times at the first outdoor meets of the season at the Trojan Invitational and UNLV Spring Invitational/Shelia Tarr-Smith Multis.

“I think it was a good weekend for us. The first outdoor meet is just a great target baseline for the outdoor season,” BYU track and field head coach Ed Eyestone said. “I think this was a grand opening for us to have seven regional qualifying marks out of our first meet. I think that’s a nice strong opening.”

Madison Pachner and Lauren Ellsworth were two of the women to have qualifying regional marks in Los Angeles. Pachner had a mark of 51.85 meters in the discus and placed fifth overall. It was her personal best and was three meters better than her previous personal record. Ellsworth placed first in the 800 meters with a time of 2:08.88.

Nicole Naatjes competed at the UNLV Spring Invitational/Shelia Tarr-Smith Multis in Las Vegas and placed first in the pole vault. Her mark of 4.10 meters tied her personal best to qualify her for regionals.

Additional female athletes who participated at the Trojan Invitational included Kristi Rush who won the women’s 1500 meters and Chloe Richardson who placed first in the triple jump.

On the men’s side, Aaron Fletcher, Mitchell Briggs and Rory Linkletter took first, second and third, respectively, in the steeplechase with times good enough to get them to regionals in the event.

Babatomiwa Adegoke took third in the long jump with a mark of 7.31 meters. Eyestone believes his mark is about half an inch outside of regional qualifying. Craig Merkley had a nice showing in the discus with a mark of 52.87 meters, and Tatenda Tsumba had a third-place finish in the 200 meters with a time of 21.13.

Marcus Dickson and Connor Ross went one and two in the 1500 meters with times of 3:47.60 and 3:48.61, respectively. Wyatt Warnick improved on his season best in the javelin throw with a mark of 66.15 meters.

“A lot of times we don’t expect athletes to get a qualifying mark at the first meet of the year, but we still want them to get close to it,” Eyestone said. “So the fact that we had seven people get those marks is nice because it allows them to relax a little bit. Now they can train for the national meet.”

Next up for BYU track and field is the Aztec Invitational next Friday and Saturday in San Diego.

Blake Dorton is a BYU student studying broadcast journalism and French. He hopes to pursue a career in sports broadcasting after graduation. You can follow him on Twitter @BlakeDorton.