There’s no question Kyle Brost made significant strides in the triple jump this spring, and it nearly paid off in a big way.
The Utah State junior came extremely close to earning a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. In fact, Brost was in a national qualifying position for most of the competition, but a few athletes passed him on their third and final attempts on the third and final day of the NCAA West Preliminary Championships at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California.
Brost ended up placing 16th last Saturday with a mark of 50 feet, 7.5 inches, which was less than five inches away from a spot in the top 12 and a berth to the NCAA Championships. Nationals will take place from June 5-8 in Austin, Texas.
“It’s been a really long day,” Brost said. “I sat around waiting all day and got to jump around 7 (p.m.), so it was just a whole day of focusing and trying to get my mind right and staying hydrated. ... It’s been a long day, but I’m happy with how my performance went.”
The native of Chandler, Arizona, competed in the third flight and was in 10th place after all of the competitors in the third and fourth flights had completed their second round. Unfortunately for Brost, six athletes vaulted past him in their final attempts.
Nevertheless, it was still a very good meet for Brost, who soared past the 50-foot barrier on his first two attempts and was less than two inches away from breaking his own school record. The junior, who was seeded 22nd, uncorked an even better jump in the final round, but scratched.
“The first two phases were great, I just kind of collapsed on the third and still popped out a 15.43,” Brost said of his 50-7.5. “So ... I can go a lot farther as long as I can fix that third phase.”
Brost was one of seven Aggies who were in action on the final day of the West Prelims. The next highest placer was Brenn Flint, who was 22nd in the shot put with a mark of 51-6.25.
Flint, the 12th seed, was trying to punch her ticket to nationals for the third straight year in her signature event, but wasn’t quite able to come up with that special throw. The Syracuse native was very consistent as she popped out three consecutive 51-plus-footers, but she needed a 53-2.75 to advance.
It was still a memorable career for USU’s best women’s shot puter of all time. Flint is the program’s record-holder in the outdoor (55-2.25) and indoor (54.9-5) shot put, and is a three-time Mountain West champion — two times during the outdoor season. The two-time honorable mention All-American also ranks second in the Aggie record books in the discus (175-5). Flint finished 29th in the discus on Day 2 of the West Prelims.
A trio of Aggies competed in the high jump last Saturday. Leaugen Fray, the No. 20 seed, wrapped up his collegiate career by finishing 27th. The senior cleared the bar at 6-9 on his second attempt.
Freshman Chandler Obray tied for 31st place, while sophomore Hunter Simonsen tied for 38th. Obray, the 33rd seed, cleared 6-7 on his first attempt, while Simonsen, the 18th seed, was successful at that height on his third attempt.
USU’s other two athletes who showcased their talents on the final day of the meet were throwers Kyle Morris and Josh Barclay. Morris finished 29th in the shot put with a career-best heave of 59-6.25, while Barclay was 41st with a 57-6.5. Morris, a junior, was seeded 36th, while Barclay, a sophomore, was the No. 35 seed.
A trio of former Sky View stars represented BYU on Day 3 in Conner Mantz, Brenna Porter and Lauren Rawlinson. Mantz capped off an outstanding meet by pulling off the rare 5,000/10,000 double. The sophomore qualified for nationals in Thursday’s 10,000 meters, and then punched his ticket to Austin, Texas, in Saturday’s 5,000.
Mantz finished fifth in the second of two heats of the 5,000 and completed the race in 13 minutes, 48 seconds. Mantz, who qualified for nationals in the 10,000 a year ago, ran faster than anyone in the first heat.
Porter and Rawlinson were aiming for their second straight appearance in the pinnacle meet of collegiate track & field in the 4x400 relay, but came up a little short. BYU’s foursome ran a 3:38.32, which was comparable to their time from a year ago, but the field was much strong this time around. BYU’s 4x400 squad placed 19th.
Rawlinson also ran a leg on BYU’s 4x100 team, which matched its season-best clocking of 44.95. The Cougars finished 15th in that event.
Like Mantz, Porter will represent the Cougars for the second year in a row in the 400 hurdles at nationals. The senior secured her spot in the 400 hurdles last Friday.
A pair of Aggies will compete in Austin in thrower Sindri Gudmundsson and distance runner Cierra Simmons-Mecham. Gudmundsson is a two-time first-team All-American in the javelin, while Simmons-Mecham is aiming to become a two-time first-team All-American in the 3,000 steeplechase.