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Several Latter-day Saint athletes vie for NCAA track and field championship titles


Several Latter-day Saint athletes vie for NCAA track and field championship titles

Latter-day Saints are counted among the elite athletes competing in this week’s 2022 NCAA Division 1 outdoor track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Several female members are expected to vie for podium spots during the four-day event, June 8-11.

Oklahoma State sophomore Taylor Roe, a Latter-day Saint distance runner from Washington, is hoping to add an outdoor national title to her resume after winning the NCAA indoor 3,000-meter championship earlier this year. 

Roe will compete in the 5,000-meter race in Eugene.

Another former NCAA indoor 3,000-meter national-title holder, Brigham Young University’s Courtney Wayment, is among the favorites in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. She will be joined in the steeplechase final by her Cougar teammate Lexy Halladay.

BYU javelin thrower Ashton Riner finished first in the recent NCAA West preliminary round with a throw of 57.25 meters. Riner has been one of the country’s top javelin athletes this year and is also considered a favorite for a national title.

Latter-day Saint and BYU high jumper Cierra Tidwell-Allphin qualified for the national championship by finishing in a six-way tie for first in the NCAA West preliminaries and is hoping for another top result in this week’s national meet.

BYU’s Halley Folsom Walker, a returned missionary, will compete for a national title in the heptathlon. The seven heptathlon events are 100-meter hurdles, shot put, high jump, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter run.

In all, nine BYU female track and field athletes qualified for this week’s national championships.

Latter-day Saint distance runner Hannah Branch from Utah Valley University will compete in national 10,000-meter final.

Meanwhile, 12 male BYU athletes — including several returned missionaries — will be competing for individual and team titles.

Cougars Zach McWhorter, Caleb Witsken, Kenneth Rooks and Casey Clinger each enter the title meet ranked top 10 nationally in their events.

McWhorter, who served a mission in Indonesia, will arrive in Eugene as the nation’s second-ranked pole vaulter. His teammate and fellow return missionary Caleb Witsken will also compete in the pole vault event.

The nation’s No. 4-ranked college steeplechaser, Rooks finished 11th at the 2019 national championships prior to serving a mission in Uganda and Utah.

A Utahn who performed his full-time missionary service in Japan, Clinger will compete in Eugene in both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter national title races.

The BYU men’s team is hoping for its first top-10 team finish since taking eighth in 2019.

A male Latter-day Saint representing Utah Valley University also qualified for the NCAA championships. Adam Bunker of Monticello, Utah, will compete in the steeplechase.

This week’s national champion track events will be televised and streamed on ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN, while field events will be streamed on ESPN3.

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