After weeks of rigorous and intense trials competition, the track and field Olympic teams are set, and BYU is well-represented.

Six current or former BYU athletes will compete in track and field at the Paris Olympics. They consist of three marathoners — Conner Mantz, Clayton Young and Rory Linkletter — and three steeplechasers — Kenneth Rooks, James Corrigan and Courtney Wayment.

Four of the six are Utah high school products.

This is the most track athletes BYU has qualified for the Olympics since 1992, when the school had seven qualifiers. Six of those athletes competed for other countries in the Olympics.

This year five of BYU’s six qualifiers will compete for the U.S., the most the school has ever produced (Linkletter will represent Canada).

“To have multiple Olympians come out of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials is a statement of where our program is right now,” said head coach Ed Eyestone.

“Since coming here in the year 2000, we’ve put athletes on Olympic teams; however, to have a windfall of athletes this year is amazing.”

This was the best showing BYU has made in the Olympic track and field trials since Cougar athletes swept the men’s distance events in 1984 — Henry Marsh (3,000-meter steeplechase), Doug Padilla (5,000 meters) and Paul Cummings (10,000 meters).

It also ended a drought. In 2012 and 2021 BYU didn’t qualify a single track and field athlete for the Olympics. Another way to look at it: a total of only two BYU athletes qualified for the previous three Olympics.

Two more former local athletes competed over the weekend, but neither claimed the top-three finish necessary to make the Olympic team.

Dallin Shurts, who recently completed his senior season at BYU, placed 11th in the discus, and Abraham Alvarado, who last competed for BYU in 2018, placed eighth in the finals of the 800-meter run.

In all, 23 current and former BYU athletes qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials; 17 of them are current BYU athletes, the most of any university in the country, according to BYU’s sports information department.

BYU also claims to be the only school in the nation to have qualified at least one athlete in every distance and middle-distance event — women’s and men’s 800, women’s and men’s 1,500, women’s and men’s 5,000, men’s 10,000 (and men’s and women’s marathon, held in February).

It was further confirmation that BYU is one of the country’s elite distance-running schools. As Eyestone put it, “It’s a fun time to be a Cougar, and a fun time to be part of BYU track and field.”

While BYU was still wrapping things up at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon, Corrigan flew 2,800 miles to Philadelphia for a hastily arranged race set up specifically to give him one more chance to achieve the Olympic qualifying time of 8:15.00.

Corrigan had finished third in the Olympic trials six days earlier, but his best time was 8:21.22.

BYU’s James Corrigan earns miraculous bid to Paris Olympics with special steeplechase performance

BYU hired a rabbit to pace the five-man race, Dan Michalski, a member of the U.S. Air Force World-Class Athlete Program. In hot, muggy conditions, he led Corrigan through 66-second laps for about 2,000 meters before stepping off the track as planned, leaving Corrigan to run the final 1,000 meters (2 ½ laps) alone.

Corrigan covered the final two laps in 65 and 63 seconds. He crossed the finish line with a time of 8:13.87, smashing the Olympic standard and, to everyone’s shock, the year-old American collegiate record of 8:16.23 set by Montana State’s Duncan Hamilton.

Corrigan, who dropped some 15 seconds off his personal time the last two weeks, is now the 13th-fastest steeplechaser in the world.

“Michalski did such a great job,” said Eyestone, “and it helped that he’s a big guy because it was windy. He was able to block the wind for James.”

As for Corrigan’s run, Eyestone said, “I was just so happy for him … To come out here in not-ideal weather conditions and perform like he did was amazing. …It was an impressive performance.”

So was BYU’s overall performance in the Olympic trials. The following is a list of the highlights for the 29 Utah-connected athletes in the 2024 U.S. Olympic track and field trials:

– Kenneth Rooks (BYU) – first in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

– Courtney Wayment (BYU, Kaysville) – second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

– Chari Hawkins (USU) – second in the heptathlon.

– James Corrigan (BYU) – third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

– Whittni Morgan (BYU, Panguitch) – fifth in the 5,000-meter run.

– Casey Clinger (BYU, American Fork) – fifth in the 10,000-meter run.

– Conner Mantz (BYU, Smithfield) – sixth in the 10,000-meter run.

– Abraham Alvarado (BYU) – eighth in the 800-meter run.

– Cierra Allphin (BYU) – ninth in the high jump.

– Cameron Bates (BYU) – ninth in the javelin.

– Lexy Hallday (BYU) – ninth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

– Dallin Shurts (BYU) – 11th in the discus.

– Anna Bennett (BYU, Fillmore) – 13th overall in the semifinals of the 1,500-meter run (one place, or .26 of a second from advancing to the final).

Note: In February, Conner Mantz (BYU, Smithfield) and Clayton Young (BYU, American Fork) placed first and second, respectively, in the U.S. marathon trials, and Rory Linkletter (BYU/Herriman) earned a berth on the Canadian Olympic marathon team.

BYU Olympians through the years

Number of track and field athletes who qualified for the Olympic Games and number of athletes who competed for the U.S. Olympic team:

1912 1 1

1936 1 1

1948 1 1

1964 1 0

1968 6 0

1972 6 1

1976 5 2

1980 4 1

1984 7 3

1988 7 4

1992 7 1

1996 3 1

2000 6 2

2004 5 1

2008 2 1


2012 0 0

2016 2 1

2020 0 0

2024 6 5

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