BYU junior Leif Arrhenius helped lead the men's track team to indoor and outdoor MWC Championships (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU men’s track and field team continued its dominance in 2010, winning both the indoor and outdoor Mountain West Conference Championships.
BYU put together another remarkable team effort as well as having several individual athletes recognized for their performances. The Cougars had 10 athletes named to the All-MWC Indoor team, 14 named to the All-MWC Outdoor team, as well as three All-Americans selected by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Student-athletes also excelled in the classroom, totaling 26 Academic All-MWC selections and 13 Scholar-Athlete honorees.
The indoor season featured BYU capturing its 10th title in 11 years. One of the highlights to a successful indoor season was competition at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York, an event featuring over 60 of the top teams in the country.
Junior Chris Little took first place in the pole vault with a height of 5.30 meters. Meanwhile, the men’s 4x400-meter relay team of Kevin Ahlstrom, Rhyan Atrice, Kevin Biesinger and James Derek McCallister took home first place in a time of 3:13.39, almost a full three seconds better than second place Houston.
"This is the best we have ever performed at this meet since we have been coming here," coach Mark Robison said at the meet. "I am very pleased with how we did."
At the conclusion of the indoor season, the Cougars headed to Albuquerque, NM, to compete for another MWC crown.
BYU scored 159.5 points overall at the MWC Indoor Championships, defeating TCU by 24.5 points to earn the title. The Cougars had four individual champions, including junior Leif Arrhenius, who won both the weight throw and the shot put. Not to be lost in the shadow of Arrhenius, senior Danny Lawson tacked on points for BYU as he finished second in shot put and junior Oliver Whaley took third in the weight throw. The three throwers combined to contribute 34 points to the team total.
Arrhenius was the lone Cougar moving on to the NCAA Indoor Championships. He finished fourth in the weight throw with a throw of 21.56 meters, earning his second-consecutive All-America honor in the event.
Another successful indoor season led BYU toward an extraordinary outdoor season.
The Cougars took home their 11th outdoor MWC title, winning the meet with 211 total points, 58 ahead of nearest team, New Mexico. Six athletes took home individual championships for BYU, including Arrhenius who won both the discus and hammer throw.
The final top performance by the BYU men came in an exhilarating 4x400-meter relay featuring sophomore Ryan Waite and indoor relay champs Atrice, McAllister and Biesinger. Atrice received the baton in second place, but closed in and passed the TCU anchor to lead the Cougars to a 3:08.81 victory.
“We still have not lost a MWC outdoor championship, and it feels great,” Robison said. “We had some great performances from a number of people.”
After 14 different meets that the BYU men competed in, a conference championship in hand, the season concluded with the Cougars sending eight athletes to compete in nine different events at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
Junior Blaine Baker came in ninth and junior Sean Richardson finished 11th in the javelin to earn their first All-America honors. Senior Richard Nelson finished in eighth place in the 3000-meter steeplechase to garner his second All-America selection, BYU’s eighth straight year with at least one selection in that event.
Moving into the 2011 season, BYU returns seven indoor All-MWC athletes, 10 outdoor All-MWC winners and two All-America selections. It will look to defend its MWC title in both indoor and outdoor competition again.