NCAA track and field: BYU's Danny Bryant takes podium spot in shot put

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SALT LAKE CITY — Known for its strong showing in the distance races and the 3,000-meter steeplechase, BYU showed class in a less-common place Wednesday on the first day of the NCAA men's outdoor track and field championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon: the throwing pit.

Danny Bryant earned All-American status and a podium finish with a fourth-place throw of 20.02 meters (65 feet 8 1/4 inches) in the men's shot put Friday, the No. 4 finish in the country that ranks third in Cougars track and field history.

The junior from Valencia, California earned first-team All-American status by topping his previous personal-best throw of 19.59 meters set May 10 at the Big 12 championships, a mark that ranked sixth all-time at BYU in the event.

But in his first appearance at the NCAA outdoor championships, Bryant took it up a notch after finishing fourth at the NCAA West preliminaries in Fayetteville, Arkansas — when he set his previous personal best.

Wednesday was just following the "pattern," he joked.

"It was an amazing feeling to go over that 20-meter barrier," Bryant said. "Going in, I had gone to regionals every year and felt I choked the past two years. When I made it to nationals this year, I was just psyched and ready to bring everything I had. It felt amazing tonight."

With six of 21 events scored, BYU is tied for 14th with 6 points. USC leads the team tally with 19 points, followed by Georgia (13), Cal (12.5), Kansas (12) and Ole Miss (12).

"Danny proved once again that he can compete when it matters most," said BYU throws coach Nik Arrhenius, noting that Bryant "struggled" on his first two throws but found a new PR to earn three more throws before breaking the 20-meter barrier on his final attempt. "I'm so proud of him and happy that all the hard training we put in resulted in the outcome which happened."

Cameron Bates added first-team All-American status with an eighth-place finish in the javelin when the senior hurled the stick 72.09 meters (236-6) on his final throw. Weber State's Josh Trafny — the first Wildcat javelin thrower to qualify for nationals since 1998 — was 23rd in the event with a throw of 62.00 (203-5).

Utah State sophomore Logan Hammer posted a 5.22-meter (17-1.5 feet) finish for 16th place in the pole vault. The sophomore from Nampa, Idaho, clinched All-American status after setting the school and Mountain West record after his clearance of 5.62 meters (18-5.25) for first place May 11 at the conference outdoor championships in Clovis, California.

Hammer clinched second-team All-American honors, becoming the first Aggie All-American since Sindri Gudmundsson earned first-team honors in the men's javelin in 2019.

"He's not happy and not satisfied with the result he had today, but I hope as the days pass he'll be able to recognize what a special season he's had," sid Utah State head coach Artie Gulden in a statement.

The Cougars' 4x400-meter relay team of Eli Hazlett, Abram Schaap, Jace Jensen and Trey Jackson did not advance to Friday's final, finishing 18th in the preliminary round in 3:07.46 for All-America honorable mention honors.

BYU's James Corrigan cemented his status as one of the favorites in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, laying down a personal-best 8:28.84 in the second of two preliminary heats Wednesday.

Corrigan, a sophomore from Los Angeles, beat his previous PR of 8:29.54 at the Big 12 championships that tied for the No. 3 mark in program history.

The Big 12 champion trailed third going into the final barrier, but used the momentum of the last straightaway and a punishing final kick to edge past Portland's Estanis Ruiz for first overall.

Southern Utah's Hayden Hayward finished 20th in the timed semifinals in 8:52.35, and BYU Freshman Wyatt Haughton was 22nd in 9:00.96 — both good for All-America honorable mention honors.

"What a great season he had," Southern Utah head coach Eric Houle said of Hayward. "Moving to the next level always brings some ups and downs but the experience he gained tonight will benefit him in the future."

Running in the first 800-meter heat of the day, BYU's Sebastian Fernandez failed to advance to Friday's finals after finishing 20th overall in 1:49.43 for All-America honorable mention honors.

BYU's James Corrigan runs in his preliminary heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon, Wednesday, June 5, 2024.
BYU's James Corrigan runs in his preliminary heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Eugene, Oregon, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Photo: BYU Photo)

The NCAA women's track and field championships will open Thursday, including BYU sprinter Jaslyn Gardner. The senior from Enterprise who holds the school record in the 100- and 200-meter dash in 11.22 and 23.32 seconds, respectively, will start in lane No. 6 of the first heat.

It will be the final national championship appearance in the career of the senior who recently graduated in exercise and wellness, and plans to become a personal trainer and track coach — if a professional career doesn't work out.

If nothing else, Gardner has proven that BYU is more than just a distance school.

"When I came in my freshman year, I knew the program was mostly long-distance based; it's what BYU has been known for," said Gardner, a former multi-sport athlete in volleyball and basketball who also set a school record in the 4x100-meter relay with teammates Dolita Shaw, Adaobi Tabugbo and Marianne Barber. "But my coach at the time told me that I could be starting us out in the sprints, but that I could bring it up. I've started to see more and more, and hopefully we can grow into a bigger program in the sprints."

Despite growing up in Utah, Gardner mostly held designs on going to an out-of-state college and experiencing the world beyond Utah's borders. That is, until BYU coaches began to recruit her and she realized Provo was a keen possibility.

"I always thought I'd go out of state and see how that would go," she said. "But then I realized that BYU would be a good fit, and when I came on my visit and experienced the atmosphere, I decided I wanted to go to BYU."


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