SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Utah State junior thrower Brenn Flint was the first Aggie to punch a ticket to Eugene as the NCAA West Preliminary Championships kicked off on Thursday at Hornet Stadium.
Flint placed fifth in the first round of the women’s shot put with a heave of 16.58 meters (54-04.75).
“It’s exciting,” Flint said. “I’ve got to get better in two weeks, but it’s nice to just come here and do what we’ve done all season and be consistent, so it’s awesome. The throw I advanced on was good; I had good acceleration. I finally put one together.”
The 2018 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be held June 6-9 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Competitors who finish in the top-12 from the West Prelims will meet qualifiers from the East Prelims.
Flint earned honorable mention All-American honors at the 2017 Outdoor Finals after placing 23rd in the shot put with a throw of 14.60 meters (47-10.75).
“It’s amazing to see Brenn come and do this again,” said Utah State head track & field coach Matt Ingebritsen. “I think she got a taste of what she needed to see as a sophomore and then was able to come back and do it again. It was exciting to see her come back and know what she needed to do, and what’s funny is she actually did it on her first throw. We really didn’t need to take the other two, but that’s the way it goes. They’re competitors, and it’s hard to make them stop.”
Flint wasn’t the only Aggie to punch their ticket to Eugene. Senior Dillon Maggard will be joining her in the Pacific Northwest as he finished seventh in the semifinals of the men’s 10,000 meters with a time of 29:15.45.
“I was just trying to stay in good position and relax,” Maggard said. “The last mile, we were cranking down, and I just thought, ‘This is it. I’ve got to qualify.’ I just tried to trust in the training that (head cross country) coach (Artie) Gulden gave me. I thought about that the last 800 or so, and it gave me confidence to push through. It was definitely a confidence booster.”
Seniors Jordan Beutler and Clay Lambourne both advanced to the quarterfinals of their respective events on Thursday. Beutler placed first in the third heat of the men’s 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:00.92.
“It’s just the next step to the goal, and I was able to go out and race smart,” Beutler said. “It played to my advantage. I was able to make the right moves at the right time, and it shook out well. My game plan was just to secure good position the first 150-200 meters and then go for a ride in that last 500, and I was able to do just that. With about 450 to go, I made my move and then was positioned in second with about 375 left and just held it.”
Beutler will look to punch his ticket to Eugene on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (MT).
“Jordan ran great,” said Gulden, who is in charge of the distance runners during the indoor and outdoor track & field seasons. “He won his heat by almost a second. He was in there with a lot guys that were seeded ahead of him. The race was slow, but he just protected his position the best he could, and when the running really started with 500 meters, he got in the position that he wanted to be in, moving up to second or third and then waited until the last 200 to make his move to win the heat.”
For Lambourne, he placed 20th overall and third in his heat of the 800-meter run with a time of 1:50.59. His quarterfinal race will be held Friday night at 7:30 (MT).
“Overall, I’ve been impressed with the general demeanor of everyone here,” Ingebritsen said. “It’s been really fun. The kids have been excited about it. We’re getting people through in other events, and for me, it’s been really fun to be here as the head coach for the first time. I’m just enjoying watching the interaction with the athletes this year. It’s been something pretty special.”
A total of five Aggies will be in action on Friday, beginning with senior thrower David Hirschmann competing in the first round of the men’s discus at 1 p.m. (MT). The native of Elchingen, Germany, is making his third appearance at the NCAA West Prelims and is seeded 23rd with a personal-best throw of 55.98m (183-08). The mark ranks fifth all-time in school history.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Hirschmann said. “It is an awesome venue to have my final West Prelims at. Since the weather forecast is not the greatest for Friday, I am hoping for a dry competition and then I want to go out there and have fun competing.”
Junior Cierra Simmons will wrap up Friday’s action for the Aggies when she competes in the quarterfinals of the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at 10 p.m. (MT). The native of Soda Springs, Idaho, is making her second appearance at the NCAA West Prelims. She is ranked fifth in the west (eighth nationally) in the event with a school-record time of 9:56.60, which she set at the Mountain West Outdoor Championships to claim gold.
“There is a spectrum of emotion being here,” Simmons said. “I was pretty heartbroken after finishing 13th last year, so I have been reflecting on that feeling for a whole year to find motivation when it was hard to come by. At the same time, so much has happened since that race, so I am ready to go in tomorrow with new-found confidence and appreciation, as well as a little bit of fire from last year’s letdown.”
Prior to Simmons’ race, both Spencer Fehlberg and Adam Hendrickson will be competing in the quarterfinals of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at 9:20 p.m. (MT).
Fehlberg, a senior from Huntington, Utah, qualified for his second NCAA West Prelims with a personal-best time of 8:48.80, which ranks fourth all-time in school history. Fehlberg is seeded 15th in the west (20th nationally).
Hendrickson, a junior from Brigham City, Utah, is making his first appearance at the NCAA West Prelims. He is seeded 47th in the event with a personal-best time of 8:57.71.
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NCAA WEST PRELIMINARY CHAMPIONSHIPS
MAY 24, 2018
USU WOMEN’S RESULTS:
400m Hurdles (First Round) – 41. Jordan Brandt, 1:00.88.
1,500m (First Round) – 34. Tylee Newman-Skinner, 4:28.98.
10,000m (Semifinals) – DNF, Kashley Carter.
Javelin (First Round) – 33. Mia Estes, 42.88m (140-08).
Shot Put (First Round) – 5. Brenn Flint, 16.58m (54-04.75)q; 19. Olivia Moriconi, 15.79m (51-09.75); 43. Maia Garren, 14.63m (48-00).
USU MEN’S RESULTS:
1,500m (First Round) – 17. Brody Smith, 3:48.18; 37. Jordan Beutler, 4:00.92Q.
800m (First Round) – 20. Clay Lambourne, 1:50.59Q; 47. Samuel Coleman, 1:56.23.
10,000m (Semifinals) – 7. Dillon Maggard, 29:15.45Q; 40. Luke Beattie, 30:35.82.
Pole Vault (First Round) – T17. Sam Nelson, 5.00m (16-04.75).
COMPETITION SCHEDULE FOR UTAH STATE ATHLETES (ALL TIMES MT)
Friday, May 25
7:30 p.m. – Men’s 800 Meters – Quarterfinals (Clay Lambourne)
9:20 p.m. – Men’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Quarterfinals (Adam Hendrickson/Spencer Fehlberg)
10 p.m. – Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Quarterfinals (Cierra Simmons)
1 p.m. – Men’s Discus – First Round (David Hirschmann)
Saturday, May 26
7:30 p.m. – Men’s 1,500 Meters – Quarterfinals (Jordan Beutler)
9:05 p.m. – Men’s 5,000 Meters – Semifinals (Dillon Maggard)
9:45 p.m. – Women’s 5,000 Meters – Semifinals (Tavia Dutson)
1 p.m. – Men’s Javelin – First Round (Sindri Gudmundsson/Kyle Morris)
5 p.m. – Men’s High Jump – First Round (Leaugen Fray)
5:30 p.m. – Men’s Shot Put – First Round (David Hirschmann)