LAWRENCE, Kan. – Parker Bluth is bound and determined to end his stellar track & field career at Utah State in style.
The senior from Riverton, Utah, qualified for the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Finals in three events and is in line for his first outdoor All-America honor.
Bluth won his heat and qualified for the finals in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.73 on Saturday at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kan. Bluth also ran the first leg on Utah State’s 4x400m relay that finished first in the third heat and fourth overall with a school-record time of 3:04.48.
On Friday, Bluth was the first Aggie to qualify for the Outdoor Finals when he placed 10th in the 100m with a time of 10.33. He finished second in his heat.
“Making it in three events is wonderful,” Bluth said. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m glad I get to wear the Aggie name on my chest.”
According to available records, Bluth is the first Utah State athlete to qualify for the Outdoor Finals in three events.
Bluth is one of a school-record-tying eight Aggies to qualify for this year’s Outdoor Finals, which are being held June 8-11 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Eight Utah State athletes also qualified for the 2006 Outdoor Finals, which took place in Sacramento, Calif.
“It’s amazing and wonderful,” Bluth said. “We were pretty close to breaking the record for how many people have gone to the Outdoor Finals on our team. This is the first relay team we’ve ever taken, which is amazing, but heartbreaking at the same time because the 4x100m should have been in there, but we had bad handoffs. That’s honestly probably the only downside of the day is Nic Bowens isn’t going with us. He and I have been through so much together and I want him to be there, but that’s why we run the races, to see what happens.”
For veteran Utah State head coach Gregg Gensel, he was extremely pleased with the way his athletes handled the adverse weather conditions the first two days of the West Prelims.
“They condensed the meet down to two days instead of three days like normal and the kids responded really well,” Gensel said. “It was pretty exciting to watch how they stepped up and took care of business.”
Besides Bluth, the winning 4x400m relay team consisted of sophomore Brady Martin, senior Cole Lambourne and junior AJ Boully, along with senior Tanner Hunt, who was an alternate on the team this weekend.
“I can’t say enough about AJ and Parker, and how they responded to the things they needed to do today to help the relay team get through to the national meet,” Gensel said. “They were both pretty tired, but ran their hearts out and it showed. It was pretty awesome to watch.”
For Lambourne, this will be his second consecutive trip to the Outdoor Finals as he also went in 2015 and earned second-team All-American honors after placing 15th in the 400m with a time of 46.53.
Prior to qualifying in the 4x400m, Boully punched his ticket to the Outdoor Finals on Friday when he won his heat in the 400m hurdles and placed fifth overall with a time of 51.00.
Dillon Maggard was the only other Aggie to qualify for the Outdoor Finals on Saturday. The sophomore from Kirkland, Wash., won his heat and placed second overall in the 1,500m with a personal-best time of 3:43.37, which ranks second all-time in school history.
Bluth and Maggard also qualified for the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships in the mile and 200m, respectively. Both garnered second-team All-American honors in their event.
Senior Maci Bingham (hammer) and sophomore Clay Lambourne (800m) also qualified for the Outdoor Finals, giving the Aggies their seven representatives.
“Maci went in and was very businesslike,” Gensel said. “All three of her throws probably would have gotten her through to the next round.”
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UTAH STATE RESULTS
NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS, WEST PRELIMS
MAY 28, 2016
<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>WOMEN’S RESULTS:</strong></span>
5,000m (semifinals) – 36. Kashley Carter, 17:12.95.
Shot Put (first round) – 40. Maci Bingham, 14.31m (46-11.50); 47. Brenn Flint, 13.32m (43-08.50).
<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>MEN’S RESULTS:</strong></span>
4x100m (quarterfinals) – 19. Utah State (Parker Bluth, Nic Bowens, Chance Parker, Brady Martin), 40.54.
1,500m (quarterfinals) – 2. Dillon Maggard, 3:43.37Q.
200m (quarterfinals) – 12. Parker Bluth, 20.73Q; 27. Nic Bowens, 21.13.
4x400m (quarterfinals) – 4. Utah State (Parker Bluth, Brady Martin, Cole Lambourne, AJ Boully), 3:04.48Q.
Discus (first round) – 32. Kevin Allen, 51.63m (169-04).
Shot Put (first round) – 30. David Hirschmann, 17.61m (57-09.50).