SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Utah State’s track & field team added one more national qualifier Saturday on the final day of the NCAA West Preliminary Championships at Hornet Stadium, bringing the Aggies’ three-day total to six.
Sindri Gudmundsson punched his ticket to Eugene in the men’s javelin. The sophomore from Kopavogur, Iceland, placed first overall with a throw of 77.87 meters (255-05) on his very first attempt.
“It felt good to get a big throw on my first attempt,” Gudmundsson said. “I just came out here and had fun, and it went well. I told myself to be relaxed and not hurry on anything and be patient. I just stayed long and hit my block well, and the javelin went 77 meters, so it was pretty good.”
After Gudmundsson’s second attempt was measured at 71.82m (235-07), he passed on his third and final attempt.
“I like that he came out and just executed really well,” said USU head track & field coach Matt Ingebritsen, who specifically coaches the throwers. “His first throw looked just like his last warm-up throw, and that’s exactly what we had talked about doing. He came and took care of business, and now we know, looking at the results from the other side of the country, that he’ll be ranked number one. That’s the spot that we wanted to be in to go do the things that we want to do, so I’m pretty proud of him right now.”
Gudmundsson, who earned first-team All-American honors in the javelin last year after placing sixth in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Finals, will head to Eugene with the top seed this year. Mississippi State freshman Anderson Peters came into the preliminary rounds ranked No. 1 in the country, but only went 74.22 meters (243-06) at the East Prelims on Saturday at USF Track & Field Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
“Eugene is a whole new competition, but it feels good to be seeded first going in,” Gudmundsson said. “It makes me feel like I can win it. It’s going to take a great throw to win, so I’ve just got to go there and do the same thing that I did today, and it’ll be good.”
Dillon Maggard, who punched his first ticket to Eugene on Thursday in the men’s 10,000 meters, picked up his second ticket on Saturday after placing first in his section and sixth overall in the semifinals of the 5,000-meter run. The seven-time All-American from Kirkland, Wash., crossed the finish line in 13:49.42.
“It feels great,” Maggard said. “All the hard work paid off. I just believed in the training, I tried to believe in myself, and it pushed me through. Coach (Artie Gulden) believed I could do the double, and I just had to believe in myself, too. He asked me two weeks before this, ‘Why not do both the 10k and 5k?’ I was like, ‘Well, do you think I could do it?’ He said yes, so I trusted him. It feels good to get a win in my heat and represent Utah State.”
Gudmundsson and Maggard will be joined in Eugene by senior Clay Lambourne (800 meters), senior Spencer Fehlberg (3,000-meter steeplechase) on the men’s side. Juniors Brenn Flint (shot put) and Cierra Simmons (3,000-meter steeplechase) advanced on the women’s side.
It is the first time in school history that the Aggies have qualified multiple women for the Outdoor Finals.
Sophomore Kyle Morris also competed in the first round of the men’s javelin on Saturday. He placed 46th with a throw of 56.64 meters (185-10).
David Hirschmann concluded his stellar Aggie career by placing 20th in the first round of the men’s shot with a personal-best throw of 18.05 meters (59-02.75), which ranks eighth all-time in school history. The senior from Elchingen, Germany, came into the West Prelims seeded 43rd.
“After a huge disappointment in the discus on Friday, I wanted to redeem myself in the shot put,” Hirschmann said. “My warmups felt pretty good and I tried to stay calm and not get too excited. On my first throw of competition, I finally broke the 18-meter barrier that I have been chasing for a long time.
“To throw a lifetime PR at my last and most important competition feels great. I am thankful for my time here at Utah State, and am especially thankful for coach Ingebritsen for staying patient with me.”
Junior Leaugen Fray also shined in his event on Saturday, tying for 25th in the first round of the men’s high jump. He matched his career-best jump of 2.11 meters (6-11).
“Leaugen competed very well today,” said USU multi-events/jumps coach Erik Rasmussen. He tied his outdoor collegiate best and showed he can jump what it takes to make it to the NCAA Outdoor Finals. We just need to clean up a few things and he’ll be in there next year. I’m very pleased with Leaugen’s year and look forward to seeing him really explode next year.”
In the quarterfinals of the men’s 1,500 meters, senior Jordan Beutler finished 17th with a time of 3:46.58.
Junior Tavia Dutson was the lone Aggie to compete on Saturday for Utah State. She finished 46th in the semifinals of the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:04.08.
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NCAA WEST PRELIMINARY CHAMPIONSHIPS
MAY 26, 2018
USU WOMEN’S RESULTS:
5,000m (Semifinals) – 46. Tavia Dutson, 17:04.08.
USU MEN’S RESULTS:
1,500m (Quarterfinals) – 17. Jordan Beutler, 3:46.58.
5,000m (Semifinals) – 6. Dillon Maggard, 13:49.42Q.
Javelin (First Round) – 1. Sindri Gudmundsson, 77.87m (255-05); 46. Kyle Morris, 56.64m (185-10).
High Jump (First Round) – T25. Leaugen Fray, 2.11m (6-11).
Shot Put (First Round) – 20. David Hirschmann, 18.05m (59-02.75).