PROVO, Utah - One team national championship, three individual national champions, nine conference championships, 30 All-Americans and 60 All-Conference performers were among the accomplishments of Brigham Young University athletics during the past year.
The men's volleyball team, led by AVCA men's Coach of the Year Carl McGown, became only the second non-California team to win the men's volleyball national championship when they defeated No. 2 Long Beach State to win the title in early May. Ryan Millar, Ossie Antonetti and Hector Lebron were named AVCA All-Americans as they led the Cougars to a 30-1 record and the title.
In addition to the men's volleyball national championship, three Cougar athletes won individual national titles. Sprinter Leonard Myles-Mills won the national title in the 100-meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the second straight year and gymnasts Cortney Bramwell and Guard Young became nation champions in the still rings and vault, respectively.
Besides the national success enjoyed by the Cougars, they completed their final season in the Western Athletic Conference by claiming, or sharing titles in nine sports: women's and men's cross country, women's volleyball (Pacific Division), football (Pacific Division), men's and women's indoor track and field, men's golf and men's and women's outdoor track and field. The title for the women's cross country completed an era of WAC dominance that saw the Cougars win every conference title for the nine years the WAC has sponsored cross country competition.
Fifteen male athletes were named to All-American teams during the 1998-99 season. In addition to the three volleyball players and the two gymnasts, two members of the men's swimming and diving team were named All-Americans. Dmitri Malinovski (100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke) and Arunas Savickas (200 freestyle and 200 backstroke) each received the honor. Golfer Andy Miller was also named second-team All-American and led the Cougars to a seventh-place finish at the national tournament.
Myles-Mills ended the year earning All-American honors in three different track events. Besides his national title in the 100-meters during the outdoor season, he also was named an All-American in the 60-meter sprint during the indoor track and field season and was a member of the third-place 4x100 team for the Cougars in the outdoor season. Other men's track and field All-Americans were: Jeff Hansen (pole vault), Marc Chenn (high jump), Kenneth Andam, Clayton Patch, Thobias Akwenye and Slade Combs (4 x 100).
"We're proud of the way our athletes performed in their respective sports this season," Val Hale, men's athletic director, said. "We had some tremendous performances, as was evidenced by our finish in the Sears' Cup, and we are looking to continue that success in the future."
BYU's women's cross country team placed second in the country behind national champion Villanova after the title race. Maggie Chan placed seventh and Sharolyn Shields finished 13th to earn All-American honors.
The women also boasted 15 All-Americans with ten of them coming from the cross country and track and field teams. Chan, who was named an All-American in cross country, also earned the honor in the 5,000-meters during the outdoor championships and the 3,000-meters at the indoor championships. Shields was also an All-American in cross country as well as outdoor track and field. She placed fourth in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Other track and field All-American women included Alicia Brimhall (heptathlon), Treva Bryant (800 meters), Marty Hernandez (10,000 meters), Elizabeth Jackson (5,000 meters), Emily Nay (10,000 meters, outdoor; 5,000 meters, indoor) and Tara Rohatinsky (10,000 meters, outdoor; 5,000 meters, indoor).
Two women's volleyball players earned All-Americans while leading their team to a fifth-place finish in the NCAA Tournament. Setter Anna-Lena Smith and rightside hitter Korie Rogers were both named second-team AVCA All-Americans. Freshman Nina Puikkonen led the nation in blocking and was named the WAC Pacific Division Freshman of the Year.
The women's soccer team ended the season ranked ninth in the country and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the national tournament -- its highest ever finish. Maren Hendershot and Shauna Rohbock were each named third-team All-Americans. They also joined Sara Reading on the WAC All-Tournament Team.
"The women's athletic programs had another stellar season," Elaine Michaelis, women's athletic director, said. "We're thrilled with the student-athletes' continued success in all areas of their university experience. Our coaches, administrators and staff deserve so much of the credit for their support, dedication and hard work which played a key role in the success our programs had this past season."
Cougar athletes also enjoyed success in the classroom. During the fall and winter sports 56 BYU athletes were named All-Academic WAC. The women's cross country team led all Cougar teams with 11 and the women's swimming and diving team had 10. Results from the spring sports season are still to be announced.
The football team ended the season with a trip to the Liberty Bowl after winning the WAC Pacific Division and playing Air Force in the WAC Championship game in their final season as a member of the WAC. They were led by WAC Defensive Player of the Year and 1999 Butkus Award Candidate, Rob "Freight Train" Morris. He was joined on the WAC First Team by Tait, Yancey and defensive back Brian Gray. Gray will also return to a Cougar defense that was the best in the WAC last season giving up only 273.4 yards per game.
Besides McGown being named the men's volleyball national AVCA Coach of the Year, Keith Russell was named the WAC diving Coach of the Year for his work with both the men's and women's teams.
The Cougars officially began affiliation with the new Mountain West Conference on July 1st.