It will be a busy week for Utah State’s track & field program as the Aggies will compete at the Mountain West Outdoor Championships, a four-day meet that begins Wednesday in Clovis, California.
The Aggies are ranked first in the conference in five events, plus two-time MW javelin champion Sindri Gudmundsson will compete for the first time this season. The junior, a two-time first-team All-American and the league and school record-holder in the event, has been nursing an injury.
Like Gudmundsson, two other Aggies will be looking to defend their titles in Brenn Flint in the shot put and Cierra Simmons-Mecham in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Flint, USU’s record-holder in the shot put, currently ranks first in the conference in the event with a mark of 53 feet, 11.25 inches. The senior is also seeded sixth in the discus (169-11), an event she was the silver medalist in a year ago.
In addition to Flint, other Aggies who lead the Mountain West in an individual event are Luke Beattie in the 10,000 (29 minutes, 0.82 seconds), Kyle Brost in the triple jump (49-9.25) and Kyle Morris in the shot put (59-5). Additionally, USU teammates Leaguen Fray and Hunter Simonsen are tied for the top spot in the high jump as each of them has cleared the bar at 7-0.25 this spring.
Simonsen claimed the MW indoor title a few months ago in the high jump, as did Morris in the shot put. The Aggies swept the top three positions in the high jump at the 2019 Mountain West Indoor Championships, and that is a possibility this weekend as Chandler Obray is ranked third, along with an athlete from Air Force.
Four Aggies will enter the MW Championships as No. 2 seeds in throwers Josh Barclay, Jenny Bitner and Morris, and high jumper Jennifer Christensen. Barclay, the reigning conference indoor runner-up in the shot put, has thrown 58-3 during the outdoor season. Christensen ranks second in the high jump (5-9.25), as does Bitner in the javelin (148-7) and Morris in the javelin (224-5).
Gudmudsson will be the big favorite in the javelin if he is anywhere close to 100 percent healthy. The junior was the bronze medalist at the NCAA Championships last season.
The Lady Aggies have three athletes ranked in the top four in the javelin. Box Elder product Stephanie Crapse is the No. 3 seed (141-8), while Sarah Angwin in seeded fourth (139-4).
Simmons-Mecham is ranked fourth in the steeplechase, but could repeat as the champion if she can regain her form from a year ago. The native of Soda Springs, Idaho, was a first-team All-American in the event as a junior.
One Aggie is ranked in the top six in a trio of events in sophomore Talie Bonds. Bonds holds down the No. 4 position in the high jump (5-8) and heptathlon (5,145 points) and is sixth in a loaded 100 hurdles field (13.51).
On the men’s side, USU’s Carl Jones Jr. is seeded third in the 100 (10.59), as is teammate Tyler Lloyd in the 400 hurdles (53.59). The Aggie men also have the third-fastest qualifying time in the 4x400 relay (3:16.99).
Other Aggies who are ranked in the top six in an individual event are Stokton Smith in the steeplechase (fourth, 8:58.45); Box Elder product Adam Hendrickson in the steeplechase (fifth, 8:59.40); Fray in the long jump (fifth, 24-3); Christian Sonnenberg in the discus (fourth, 176-11); Alyssa Snyder in the 10,000 (sixth, 33:50.95); Michala Zilkey in the hammer (sixth, 188-2); Jones Jr. in the 200 (three-way tie for sixth, 21.64); Lloyd in the 110 hurdles (sixth, 14.83).
Snyder broke the USU record in the 10,000 earlier this season, as did Brost in the triple jump.
A year ago at this meet, the Aggie men placed fourth out of eight teams with 131 points, while the USU women finished fifth out of 11 teams with 78 points.
The Air Force men have captured the past three outdoor titles, while the San Diego State women are going for the three-peat.