Cougs fight, fight, fight for PRs and glory at NCAA Track and Field Championships

Three Cougs qualify as All-Americans



Then-sophomore Mitch Jacobson attempts to clear a jump during a meet April 27, 2019 at Mooberry Track.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen managing editor

WSU Track and Field sent six Cougs to the 2022 NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field on the campus of University of Oregon.

On day one of the championships on June 8, Jacob Englar nearly qualified as an All-American but finished one spot shy of a top 16 finish with a 5.30 meter, 17th overall result. Each athlete who finished between 14th and 18th overall also finished with a 5.30-meter vault.

Colton Johnsen finished comfortably within the top 16 to qualify as an All-American on day one of the championships. He finished the first race of the 3000-meter steeplechase with a personal record of 8 minutes and 31.64 seconds. Johnsen’s second race was slower than his first but his seventh overall finish from the first race was enough to qualify him as an All-American and propel him into the finals.

On day one of the women’s championships, June 9, two Cougar freshmen put on a show capping off their inaugural collegiate seasons.

Valentina Barrios Bornacelli finished with a personal record and the best mark among any freshman on that day, with a mark of 172 feet and 4 feet on her second throw. Her personal record was quickly set again on her third throw, a 54.03 meter/ 177 feet and 3-inch mark. Her 54.03 meter mark was good for eighth best on the day and qualified her for nationals as an All-American.

 Micaela De Mello, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, finished the 100-meter hurdles with a 13.15 second, 17th overall finish. Her time was the second-best among freshmen in the field.

High jumper Mitch Jacobson dazzled on day three of the NCAA championships and the final day of the men’s competitions. 

Jacobson was only one of four to clear 2.10 meters and 2.15 meters on his first attempts. He struggled to clear 2.18 meters but cleared on his third jump. He established a new personal record with a 2.21-meter clearing on two tries, good for a fifth overall finish and All-American honors. 

After a triumphant first day of steeplechasing, Johnsen finished Friday’s 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8 minutes and 37.38 seconds, good for 11th place and All-American honors, about one second behind 10th place.

Johnsen is the first Coug to qualify for consecutive All-American honors since Julius Korir in 1984-85.

The final day of the championships brought more glory for the Cougs.

Aislinn Overby in her NCAA Championships debut, finished 19th overall in the women’s high jump with a 1.77-meter mark.

She missed her first attempt at 1.72-meters before clearing on her second attempt to join the final field of 24.

Despite on-and-off showers in Oregon, Overby kept her focus and delivered a top-20 finish in her first championships.

The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced six Cougs as part of their All-American teams.

Both the men’s and women’s teams had one member receive a first-team honor, javelin thrower Barrios Bornacelli and high jumper Jacobson.

De Mello received a 100-meter hurdles honorable mention and Overby received an honorable mention for high jump.

Johnsen, who qualified as an All-American in consecutive races, received a second-team honor for the 3000-meter steeplechase and Englar received an honorable mention for pole vault.

Three athletes, Barrios Bornacelli, Jacobson and Johnsen set personal records which yielded All-American finishes for all three Cougs.