PROVO, Utah (April 22) - BYU All-American Kenneth Andam continued his explosive return from injury with wins in three sprint events Saturday at the 12th annual Clarence Robison Invitational.
Andam, a junior from Takoradi, Ghana, who suffered a stress fracture in his left leg in January, began his victory-filled afternoon by winning the 100-meter dash in 10.22, a season high and NCAA provisional mark. Andam continued his winning ways in the 200 meters, claiming victory in 20.93 seconds, another season best. Andam was also the anchor on the Cougars' winning 4x100 relay team that took the title in 40.15 seconds. Following Andam in the 100 meters were Thobias Akwenye (10.22) and Cody Fonnesbeck (10.53). Akwenye also took second in the 200 meters with a season-best 21.08.
"We really needed this," said men's coach Willard Hirschi about the meet. "We've been pretty stagnant up to this point, and we finally broke out of it. A flock of guys set seasonal bests this weekend, and our sprinters and hurdlers were terrific."
Perhaps the biggest surprise on the men's side was a breakout performance in the decathlon by freshman Curtis Pugsley, who finished first among collegians and second overall in the competition. Pugsley became the first Cougar in two years to break the 7,000-point barrier, scoring 7,174 to provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships. Also picking up a big win was Marc Chenn, who took the high jump title by clearing 7'-2.5". Chenn narrowly defeated Weber State's Charles Clinger, currently ranked No. 2 in the nation in the event.
BYU exercised its depth in the hurdles, beginning with the 110-meter high hurdles, where Slade Combs (14.21), Randy Himes (14.22), and Kyle Grossarth (14.53) took spots two through four in the finals. Grossarth returned to the track minutes later to place second in the 400-meter hurdles in 51.45. Chris Kemp finished in the fourth position with a personal-best 51.89. In the 400-meter competition, freshman David Chesser set a new season- and team-high with a time of 47.70 in a qualifying heat en route to finishing second in the finals (47.83). Also placing second was Randon Richards in the 5000 meters (15:17.35).
In the field events, Jim Roberts earned another win in the shot put, adding six more inches to his NCAA provisional mark with a throw of 61'-11.75". Rick Madsen followed up Roberts' performance with a Cougar win in the long jump, as his season-best effort of 23'-8.75" gave him the victory by more than two feet over his nearest competitor. Keeping up the tradition of setting season-bests were Jeremy Kemp in the pole vault (4th, 16-6.75) and Jared Scott, who added more than sixteen feet to his previous javelin best (6th, 195-7.25).
The Cougars will have next weekend off to prepare for another home meet, Saturday, April 6 against Utah State and the University of Washington.