6 more BYU athletes, 1 from UVU qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Adam Bunker became the fourth Utah Valley University track athlete to qualify for the national championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
It was another big performance for No. 9 BYU men’s track and field.
The Cougars collected six more national qualifying times at the NCAA West Preliminary at John McDonnell Field Friday in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“This was as perfect a night as you could’ve asked for,” said BYU director of track and field Ed Eyestone.
“Our theme all season has been ‘show up,’ and our coaches and athletes certainly did that tonight.”
In all, BYU has tallied 12 tickets to nationals in Eugene, Oregon.
Meanwhile, Adam Bunker became the fourth Utah Valley University track athlete to qualify for the national championships with a school-record time of 8:40.0 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Among those leading BYU was senior sprinter Colten Yardley, who posted a personal-best 49.60 to finish seventh in the 400-meter hurdles — the No. 3 all-time best at BYU, eclipsing Greg Flint in 2003 and coach Kyle Grossarth in 2000.
In the 4x100-meter relay, Yardley, Easton Bianchi, Jared Davis and Dallin Draper clocked a time of 39.51 to secure back-to-back national championship berths.
Freshman Sebastian Fernandez also earned a national qualifying time with a 1:47.62 effort in the 800 meters.
He became the first BYU athlete to qualify for nationals in the men’s 800 meters since Shaquille Walker in 2016.
Casey Clinger qualified for nationals in the 10,000 meters Wednesday, and on Friday, he finished second in the 5,000 meters with a national qualifying time of 13:28.69.
Kenneth Rooks (8:34.91) and Garrett Marsing (8:36.19) qualified for nationals in the steeplechase, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, Friday in the quarterfinal.
Marsing finished fourth in the steeplechase last year in nationals a year ago. Rooks finished 11th in 2019 before serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
UVU’s Bunker had to wait until the third heat ended before learning if his run qualified for the trip to Eugene.
“I’m so happy,” he said. “I didn’t know if I was going to get it, so I stood down at the end of the track with a couple friends from other schools and we’re counting on our hands and trying to figure out I needed to make it.
“I’m just so happy.”