Utah State track & field opens NCAA Outdoor Finals in thrilling fashion

EUGENE, Ore. – Utah State senior distance runner Dillon Maggard and junior thrower Sindri Gudmundsson both earned spots on the podium Wednesday as the Aggies opened the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships at historic Hayward Field.


Maggard earned first-team All-American honors by placing third in the finals of men’s 10,000-meter run with a school-record time of 28:38.36.


“It was probably one of the harder races I’ve ever competed in,” Maggard said. “The Alabama guys went out in 2:05 for the first 800 meters, so I was pretty blown away by that. Overall, I’m happy with my finish. It’s the highest finish I’ve had at a national meet. Before the race, (head cross country) coach (Artie) Gulden told me to believe, so I tried to think about that when the going got rough. I ran out of gas the last 200 or 250, but I can’t complain.”


The native of Kirkland, Wash., actually held a brief lead before Michigan’s Ben Flanagan and Alabama’s Vincent Kiprop overtook the Aggie on the back stretch of the final lap.


“The plan for Dillon was to go with 600 meters left and try and win the race, and he did that,” Gulden said. “He went from sixth to first with about a lap-and-a-quarter to go and kept the lead until 300 to go. The top two guys just had another couple of gears to go to, but he really ran great, and he ran tough. He broke the school record by a large margin, which you usually don’t run that fast in championship races.”


Brian McKenna set the previous school record of 29:00.76 in 2010. Maggard will end his illustrious Aggie career with seven school records.


About the same time Maggard crossed the finish line, Gudmundsson concluded the finals of the men’s javelin by placing third with a throw of 76.37 meters (250-6).


“It was an overall improvement from last year, so that’s good,” Gudmundsson said. “I have just got to come back next year and work hard over the fall and indoor season, and come back and throw farther.”


This is the second consecutive year Gudmundsson has garnered first-team All-American honors after he placed sixth in the event at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Finals.


“The goal for the entire season was to stay top three all the way through the year no matter what, and he accomplished that goal,” said first-year USU head coach Matt Ingebritsen. “I know he’ll be disappointed in how he threw today, but he still is walking out of here in third place. Those two Mississippi State guys that got first and second just brought it today, and that’s something we’re going to learn from. We talk as if this is a big defeat, but it’s really not. This is actually pretty cool, and watching that, combined with what Dillon Maggard just did, was pretty special.”


Gudmundsson and Maggard earned six points apiece with their third-place finishes. Those 12 points have Utah State sitting in sixth place in the team standing after the first day.


Seniors Spencer Fehlberg both capped their respective Utah State careers by becoming second-team All-Americans on Wednesday.


Fehlberg garnered placed eighth in his heat and 15th overall in the semifinals of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:51.14.


“I felt pretty good before the race started, and then a couple hundred meters in I started to get a side ache, and I kind of wanted to just jog it in,” Fehlberg said. “But, I knew this was my last race, so I had to run with pride, run for myself and for all those cheering for me and supporting me along the way. I know that I left it all out on the track and ran until my guts hurt, and that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day is to give your best effort.”


Lambourne finished 16th in the semifinals of the 800-meter run with a time of 1:50.33.


“It didn’t go as I wanted it to, but I’ve had a lot of great opportunities,” Lambourne said. “A lot of things in the past have gone in my favor, so I’m just really blessed to have been a part of the program, and it’s been a good experience.”


Added Gulden: “It was good that Clay and Spencer were both able to get second-team All-American. It wasn’t what Clay wanted. His goal was to make the final, so I’m disappointed for him that he didn’t reach his goal, but I’m super proud of him and his career, and what he’s done. It’s been a fantastic ride that all these guys have taken me on.”


While Wednesday was a day for the Aggie men, Utah State’s women will be in action Thursday as juniors Brenn Flint will compete in the finals of the shot put and Cierra Simmons will race in the semifinals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase.


This is Simmons’ debut in Eugene, having narrowly missed punching her ticket last year.


“We have talked a lot about don’t just get there and then be happy that you were there for the ride,” Simmons said. “I was so close to being there last year that in thinking about it, I don’t want to just be happy getting there. I want to compete and I want to do well. We have a tough field in the steeplechase right now. It is really fast and really talented, but at the same time, we’re all really close. Really, anything can happen, even if you are 20 seconds ahead. Anybody can have a good day and anybody can have a bad day. My goal is to go and compete and I want to qualify for the finals. I absolutely want to be in the finals.”


Simmons is in the first of two semifinal heats, beginning at 5:32 p.m. (MT). The native of Soda Springs, Idaho, qualified for Eugene by placing second in her heat and ninth overall with a time of 9:57.70 at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships on May 25 at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, Calif. She is ranked ninth nationally coming into the Outdoor Finals.


“I want the first time to be a good time, but I don’t want it to be the last time,” Simmons said. “I want to start a good trend and hopefully do something once I’m back home with my entire team to make that trend be a continuing one. It means a lot to have the coaches and the support that I have had to get there, because obviously, it’s not by chance that I’m here, it’s because I’ve got a good support system and good people that are helping me get here, so that is a big deal.”


For Flint, the shot put finals are scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m. (MT). She earned honorable mention All-American honors after placing 23rd in the event (14.60 meters/47-10.75) at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Finals.


“We are going to go and do what we’ve been doing all season and have fun,” Flint said. “Whatever happens, happens, but it will be awesome. I would like to place in the top eight; anywhere in the top eight would be awesome. Making the final is always the goal going into every meet.”


This year, the native of Syracuse, Utah, qualified for Eugene by finishing fifth with a mark of 16.58 meters (54-04.75) at the NCAA West Prelims. She is ranked 21st nationally.


“Brenn is very hungry and I also think she learned a lot from what she went through last year,” Ingebritsen said. “She was looking great last year, but had a rough throw on a warm-up and kind of beat her hand up. This year, she is going to go in with the right mindset. We are in the second flight and I can very seriously see her making the final, and that would be huge, especially with another year to go. I’m pretty proud of what she has done.”


Prior to Flint and Simmons, Utah State had never sent more than one female student-athlete to the NCAA Outdoor Finals in the same year.


Fans can follow the Utah State track & field programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC, on Facebook at USUTrack and on Instagram at instagram.com/USUTF_XC. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.





JUNE 6, 2018



3,000-Meter Steeplechase (Semifinals) – 15. Spencer Fehlberg, 8:51.14.

Men’s 800 Meters (Semifinals) – 16. Clay Lambourne, 1:50.33.

10,000 Meters (Finals) – 3. Dillon Maggard, 28:38.36.

Javelin (Finals) – 3. Sindri Gudmundsson, 76.37m (250-6).



Thursday, June 7

Track Events

5:32 p.m. – Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Semifinals (Cierra Simmons)


Field Events

7:10 p.m. – Women’s Shot Put – Finals (Brenn Flint)


Friday, June 8

Track Events

8:25 p.m. – Men’s 5,000 Meters – Finals (Dillon Maggard)


Saturday, June 9

Track Events

4:54 p.m. – Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase – Finals (Cierra Simmons)



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