CLOVIS, California — Logan Hammer and Brennan Benson provided the highlights for Utah State track & field on the final day of the Mountain West Outdoor Championships, claiming the first individual titles for USU since 2019.
In the team standings, the Aggie men held on for a fifth-place finish with 73 points, while the women finished eighth with 50.5 points.
USU’s titles came in rapid succession. After clearing three previous heights, Hammer cleared 5.25 meters (17-2.75) on his second attempt, which proved to be enough to claim the MW pole vault championship over last year’s champion and runner-up, Colorado State’s Eldridge Harris and Air Force’s Caiden Macktinger, respectively. Hammer’s mark ranks fourth all-time at Utah State and ranks fifth nationally among freshmen. Also in the pole vault, sophomore Robbie Walker placed sixth with a mark of 4.65 meters (15-3).
“Just to clear that bar has been a relief because I’ve been chasing that bar all season,” Hammer said. “Chasing 17 feet, through the ups and the downs. I thought about my mom. She told me today, ‘I don’t want anything for Mother’s Day except for a PR.’ So to give her that PR, not only one PR but two, and get that 17-2 that I’ve been chasing for a while is really special to me.”
Minutes after Hammer’s title, Brennan Benson utilized a strong kick on the homestretch to overtake New Mexico’s Ethan Brouw to claim the championship in the 800 meters with a time of 1:48.94. Benson’s time moves the junior to fifth all-time at USU. Senior Christopher Kauffman also finished seventh in the event with a time of 1:52.25.
“It was great,” Benson said. “That was kind of the goal coming into this race. I knew that we had a chance at winning this… I was in second most of (the final lap) but then some guys kind of came up on me and started to pass me. That is where it starts to get hard and that’s where you have to trust your training and you just have to want it and want to hurt. Once I pulled ahead, I felt good at that point, too. It just felt good. Once I passed him, I felt like I had another burst of energy. And it just felt great and cheering with the guys after, they really brought some great energy.”
In the women’s 800 meters, junior Mattie Geddes continued a record-setting weekend in the event, placing sixth in the event with a time of 2:07.40. Geddes, who broke the school record in the event earlier this season and further trimmed her personal-best time in the prelims on Thursday, smashed her previous record by more than a full second. Geddes now stands 1.4 seconds clear of any Aggie in program history in the 800 meters.
“Mattie’s really done a great job for us this year,” head distance coach Artie Gulden said. “Great success in the indoor season and that’s carried over into outdoors. She was more aggressive in the first lap today and it really paid off for her setting a new PR by a second.”
Junior Abbey Bryant provided Utah State’s last podium placement of the weekend, taking third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.65. Freshman Krysthina Vlahovic also placed among the points in the event with a time of 14.08 to finish sixth. In the 400-meter hurdles, junior Maddie Edwards secured a further two points for the Aggies, finishing seventh with a time of 1:00.69.
In the 1,500 meters, both graduate senior Mica Rivera and sophomore Mimi Miyazawa placed in the top-eight. Rivera finished in sixth with a time of 4:25.58 while Miyazawa placed seventh with a time of 4:25.76. The duo moved to sixth and ninth all-time in the event at USU, respectively.
In the final distance event of the weekend, sophomore Ana Weaver led the Aggies, finishing 12th in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:39.71. Junior Sammi Lee finished 18th with a time of 17:05.82.
Senior Tori Bailey secured another two points for USU in the discus, placing seventh with a season-best throw of 53.32 meters (174-11). Sophomore Alyssa McNutt finished 14th with a mark of 44.04 meters (144-6), and senior Dolly Gabri took 16th with a mark of 41.84 meters (137-3).
The Aggie women placed eighth in the 4×100-meter relay, as juniors Autumn Kidd, Delphine Dah and Abbey Bryant combined with freshman Krysthina Vlahovic to record a time of 47.61.
On the men’s side, the Aggies recorded another nine top-eight finishes beyond Benson’s and Hammer’s titles. In the 1,500 meters, senior Devin Pancake finished fourth with a personal-best time of 3:42.92, ranking third all-time at USU, while freshman Drew Hogan placed eighth with a personal-best time of 3:45.39, moving to ninth all-time at USU. Senior Spencer Nelson also finished 10th with a time of 3:46.94.
Freshman Spencer Price placed seventh in the triple jump in his first appearance at the conference championships, recording a mark of 14.04 meters (46-0.75). Another freshman, Rylan Anderson, also finished among the points in the 400 meters, as Anderson placed eighth with a personal-time of 47.64. Senior Zach Meyer placed eighth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.37.
Sophomore Nata Franz finished eighth in the discus with a mark of 50.53 meters (165-9), finishing just ahead of junior Gavin Beierle in ninth place with a mark of 49.11 meters (161-1). Junior Brandon Ovington also finished 12th with a mark of 43.83 meters (143-9).
Graduate senior Caleb Garnica led the Aggies in the 5,000 meters, placing ninth with a time of 14:21.83. Graduate senior Darren Harman finished 15th with a time of 14:41.56, while junior Yonas Mogos finished 17th with a time of 14:45.15. Senior Bridger Altice also placed 20th with a time of 14:54.28.
The Aggie finished out the championships with a pair of point finishes in the relay events. Seniors Skyler Andam and Zach Meyer, freshman Rylan Anderson and junior Kelton Chenworth placed sixth in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 41.53. In the 4×400-meter relay, Andam and Anderson combined with seniors Spencer Eldridge and Zack Bell to finish fifth with a time of 3:13.78.
“What I’m finally seeing is a team that came together,” head coach Matt Ingebritsen said, “and is putting down special effort after special effort. Putting out performances they can be proud of, PRs, and we have a lot more top-fives and podiums and conference champions. It’s stuff that we haven’t seen in a while. I don’t know if the score is going to actually reflect what actually happened here but we know the changes that have been made. I couldn’t be more proud of this team right now. I hope we can just continue this progress through (the NCAA Preliminary Championships) and onto nationals. Then we’re going to reload. We’ve got a one heck of a recruiting class coming for next year. So I think this program is only going to continue to go forward.”
The NCAA Preliminary Championships are scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday, May 24-27, in Sacramento, California.
Fans can follow the Utah State track & field programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC, on Facebook at USUTrack and on Instagram at instagram.com/USUTF_XC. Aggies fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
MOUNTAIN WEST OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
VETERANS MEMORIAL STADIUM
MAY 11-13, 2023
DAY THREE RESULTS
USU WOMEN RESULTS:
TEAM STANDINGS – 8. Utah State, 50.50.
100-Meter Hurdles (finals) – 3. Abbey Bryant, 13.65; 6. Krysthina Vlahovic, 14.08.
400-Meter Hurdles (finals) – 7. Maddie Edwards, 1:00.69.
800 Meters (finals) – 6. Mattie Geddes, 2:07.40.
1,500 Meters (finals) – 6. Mica Rivera, 4:25.58; 7. Mimi Miyazawa, 4:25.76.
10,000 Meters (finals) – 12. Ana Weaver, 16:39.71; 18. Sammi Lee, 17:05.82; Bailey Brinkerhoff, DNS; Abby Jense, DNS; Camilla McKinstry, DNS; Mimi Miyazawa, DNS; Morgan Nygren, DNS; Mica Rivera, DNS.
4×100-Meter Relay (finals) – 8. Utah State (Autumn Kidd, Delphine Dah, Krysthina Vlahovic, Abbey Bryant), 47.61.
4×400-Meter Relay (finals) – Utah State (Autumn Kidd, Delphine Dah, Maddie Edwards, Olivia Smith), DQ.
Discus (finals) – 7. Tori Bailey, 53.32 meters (174-11); 14. Alyssa McNutt, 44.04 meters (144-6); 16. Dolly Gabri, 41.84 meters (137-3).
USU MEN RESULTS:
TEAM STANDINGS – 5. Utah State, 73.
110-Meter Hurdles (finals) – 8. Zach Meyer, 14.37.
400 Meters (finals) – 8. Rylan Anderson, 47.64.
800 Meters (finals) – 1. Brennan Benson, 1:48.94; 7. Christopher Kauffman, 1:52.25.
1,500 Meters (finals) – 4. Devin Pancake, 3:42.92; 8. Drew Hogan, 3:45.39; 10. Spencer Nelson, 3:46.94.
10,000 Meters (finals) – 9. Caleb Garnica, 14:21.83; 15. Darren Harman, 14:41.56; 17. Yonas Mogos, 14:45.15; 20. Bridger Altice, 14:54.28; Mark Crandall, DNS; LJ Floyd, DNS; Logan Garnica, DNS; Drew Hogan, DNS; Spencer Nelson, DNS; Devin Pancake, DNS; Max Wehrli, DNS.
4×100-Meter Relay (finals) – 6. Utah State (Skyler Andam, Zach Meyer, Rylan Anderson, Kelton Chenworth), 41.53.
4×400-Meter Relay (finals) – 5. Utah State (Skyler Andam, Spencer Eldridge, Zack Bell, Rylan Anderson), 3:13.78.
Triple Jump (finals) – 7. Spencer Price, 14.04 meters (46-0.75).
Pole Vault (finals) – 1. Logan Hammer, 5.25 meters (17-2.75); 6. Robbie Walker, 4.65 meters (15-3); Marshall Rasmussen, ND.
Discus (finals) – 8. Nate Franz, 50.53 meters (165-9); 9. Gavin Beierle, 49.11 meters (161-1); 12. Brandon Ovington, 43.83 meters (143-9).
– USU –