(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
PROVO, Utah—The BYU men’s and women’s track teams will kick off the 2017 indoor season with the first home opener of the year on Thursday, Jan 12.
The meet will kick off with the men’s heptathlon at 2 p.m. MST in the Smith Fieldhouse.
After an eventful 2016 cross-country season, the men and women’s track and field teams have hopes to continue that success into the 2017 track and field season.
Men’s track and field head coach Ed Eyestone said this meet is always a great indicator for who will be traveling with the teams and competing in the upcoming meets.
“We look at it as an indication for the upcoming season,” Eyestone said. “Many of the travel decisions will be based on how well the people look now. That’s one of the harder choices we have to make because of the number of finite tickets that we can use and we have more than enough qualified worthy athletes to use those, so we have to use some criteria other than practice.”
Senior Zachary Blackham will be a major athlete to look out for as he enters his final season with the team. Blackham placed third at the 2016 MPSF Championships last year and Eyestone expects big things out of him this year as well.
Carrying the momentum from the 2016 cross-country season, the men’s 3000m will be a top event for the men’s team. Senior Mitchell Briggs and junior Clayton Young will be top runners in this event.
Eyestone hopes to find some national qualifiers within the performances this weekend. This would also include heptathlon participant, Jackson Walker, who had a successful season last year competing in the MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships placing sixth overall.
Women’s distance head coach Diljeet Taylor expects the same things out of this weekend’s meet.
“We want to see where the athletes are at and where they will be going after this,” Taylor said. “This will be an important start to the season. I am definitely expecting the girls to be ready to go, especially after the great cross country season we just finished.”
Taylor looks forward to what the new freshman will be bringing to the team, especially true freshman Whittni Orton. Other freshman athletes to look out for include McKenna Neyman and Olivia Hoj.
Taylor also looks forward to distance runner Erica Birk and 800-meter runner Madelyn Brooks. Jarvis was an impactful team member to the women’s cross-country team and Taylor hopes she continues what she’s doing. Brooks had a successful 2016 indoor season after competing in the MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships and placing twelfth in the 800-meter.
Coach Eyestone is excited about sophomore Andrea Stapleton who had an amazing freshman year in the high jump. Stapleton was a qualifier for the regional NCAA meet last year and recently won the 2016 BYU December Invite with a jump of 5' 9.25".
The Cougars can also expect big things from Keesha Miller in the 60-meter hurdles and open 60-meters. Brenna Porter and Lauren Baxter will be athletes to look at for as well in the 400-meter. Kylee Trageser and Sierra Freeland will also be hoping to duplicate their wins from the December Invite in the pole vault and shot put.