The best heptathlete in the history of Utah State’s track & field program continues to improve as she gets older.
Former Aggie great Chari Hawkins finished sixth in her signature event on the final day of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which were contested during a record-breaking heat wave at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The native of Rexburg, Idaho, put together a new lifetime best performance with 6,230 points, to boot.
Hawkins was the bronze medalist in the heptathlon at the 2019 USA Track & Field Championships and qualified for the 2019 World Championship in Doha, Qatar, where she placed 12th. Unfortunately for the world class athlete, she faced tougher competition this past weekend than she did two years ago at the national meet.
The top two finishers at the Olympic Trials both shattered their old personal-best point tallies. Annie Kunz was the champion with 6,703 points, followed closely by Kendall Williams with 6,683.
Hawkins beat her old personal record by six points and was only 38 points out of the No. 5 position. Eighteen athletes competed in the two-day heptathlon, although three of them dropped out at various points of the competition.
Hawkins was in second place after three of seven events and was never lower than seventh place. The heptathlon is comprised of the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200, long jump, javelin and 800.
The former Madison High star matched Williams for second place in the high jump by clearing the bar at 6 feet, 0.5 inches for the first time in her career. Hawkins finished fifth in the shot put with a very good mark of 45-5.25 for someone not built like a thrower.
The 30-year-old also finished seventh in the 100 hurdles (13.18), seventh in the 200 (PR of 24.36), 11th in the long jump (19-6.25), sixth in the javelin (137-6) and 12th in the 800 (2:18.67). Hawkins barely missed out on her PR in the 100 hurdles, which is a 13.17.
Hawkins was a five-time second-team All-American at USU — three times in the heptathlon and two times in the five-event pentathlon, which is contested during the indoor season. The daughter of Peggy and Bill Hawkins is Utah State’s record-holder in the heptathlon (5,750), pentathlon (4,194) and high jump (6-0.25).
The former Sky View standout was also in action Sunday, and he finished eighth out of 16 athletes in the 5,000. Mantz, who just completed his junior outdoor track & field season at BYU, made a strong move from sixth to first place late in the race, but was unable to keep pace with the eventual Olympic qualifiers over the final 400 or so meters.
Mantz clocked in at 13:32.69, which was less than six seconds slower than champion Paul Chelimo, the reigning Olympic silver medalist at this distance. Chelimo completed the race in 13:26.82, followed closely by Grant Fisher (13:27.01) and Woody Kincaid (13:27.13). Kincaid and Fisher also finished in the top three in the 10,000 and thus will represent the U.S. in both events at the Tokyo Olympics, which will be contested from July 23-Aug. 8.
It was still a very memorable meet for Mantz, who was fifth out of 25 competitors in the 10,000, which took place on Day 1 of the Olympic Trials, June 18. The Smithfield native crossed the finish line in that race in 27:59.37.
The son of Joanna and Robert Mantz was one of five collegians to place in the top 10 in the finals of the 5,000. Oregon’s Cooper Teare led the way by finishing fourth. American Fork native Casey Clinger, Mantz’s teammate at BYU, was 12th (13:50.20).
Mantz and Clinger advanced to Sunday’s final thanks to solid performances in Thursday’s first round. Mantz, the reigning NCAA cross country champion and silver medalist in the 10,000, was ninth out of 23 athletes Thursday and clocked in at 13:39.31.
The former USU star distance runner was 20th out of 24 competitors in Friday’s semifinal round of the 1,500. Maggard finished ninth out of 12 athletes in the second of two heats and crossed the finish line in 3:45.91.
Craig Engels recorded the fastest qualifying time Friday with a 3:38.56, as the top seven runners were separated by half a second. Cole Hocker ended up prevailing in Sunday’s final of the 1,500 in thrilling fashion over defending Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz. Hocker clocked in at 3:35.28, followed by Centrowitz in 3:35.34.
Maggard was in fourth place at the 1,200-meter mark in his Friday heat, but faded late. The top five placers from each heat, plus those with the next two fastest times advanced to Sunday’s final.
The native of Kirkland, Washington, earned the right to compete Friday by advancing from Thursday’s first-round action. Maggard, who finished 19th in the the aforementioned 10,000 (28:52.38), placed 17th out of 29 athletes Thursday and was credited with a time of 3:40.93.
Maggard was a nine-time All-American at Utah State and is the school record-holder in the mile (4:01.25), 3,000 (7:52.99), 1,500 (3:42.15), indoor 5,000 (13:40.59) and outdoor 5,000 (13:30.02). Additionally, Maggard ran a sub-4-minute mile during his leg of the distance medley relay at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
The 21-year-old stole the show Sunday by becoming the first woman to ever complete the 400 hurdles in less than 52 seconds. McLaughlin clocked in at 51.90, while defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad was second in 52.42.
Muhammad is now the former world record-holder (52.16).