PROVO, Utah (Jan. `5-17, 2004) -- BYU athletes showed their strength this weekend as they hosted their season opener the Oval Open in both Provo and at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns.
Although the teams did not earn points toward NCAA rankings or have their full fleets competing, BYU dominated the meet with some of the best season opener performances BYU has ever seen.
Sophomore high jumper Lindsey Steele Metcalf opened the season clearing 5-10 almost the same height she ended at last season when she placed fifth at NCAA Championships.
"I have been practicing some new techniques to begin the season and I think that it really paid off," Metcalf said.
Practice also paid for freshman thrower Nic Arrhenius in his first collegiate meet and competition after serving an LDS mission, who opened the season by provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships with a throw in the shot put of 58 feet 9.25 inches.
"This is the first time I have competed in two years and although I didn't do my best ever, it was good for today," Arrhenius said. "I know I have more in me and so this has been good to inspire me for a great season ahead."
Thursday and Friday's women's pentathlon and men's heptathlon showed BYU's athletes are ready to shine with performances like that of freshman Katie Montgomery who placed first for collegians as she ran with future Olympians and BYU graduates Marsha Mark and Tiffany Lott-Hogan.
"This meet was really scary because you have nothing to lose but everything to prove," Montgomery said. "It is intimidating competing with these girls but at the same time it gives me the confidence that I need for the season."
Saturday's competition at the Olympic Oval also proved to be as fast as the venue is typically known for. Freshman Amy Menlove broke both her 200m and 60m dash records she set as a high school student at the Olympic Oval.
Adding to Arrhenius's two first place finishes and Metcalf's and Montgomery's top performance, BYU also racked in first places from junior Lindsey Sommer in the triple jump, junior Nathan Robison in the mile, senior Miriam Fisher in the 60m hurdles, freshman Amy Menlove in the 60m dash, junior Lars Kjerengtroen in the 800m and senior Matt Rowe in the 400m.
"Overall we have done very well today," women's head coach Craig Poole said. "This is the best opening day we have ever had."
After this weekend's strong performance BYU is setting its site for a strong indoor season.
"We ran great today, we are all healthy and in good shape," men's head coach Mark Robison said. "We just need the competition now. I expect a whole lot of improvement next week before Air Force."
After this weekends first chance at competition the Cougars will head to Colorado Springs to face off at the Air Force Invitational January 23rd and 24th.
LINDSEY SOMMER: "We haven't even practiced a full approach so to do as well as I did was awesome. The last jump I had felt really good. I was actually pretty close to a PR so hopefully this season I can improve by a foot or more."
DAVE CHESSER: "I really want to be able to run faster, like a 46.5, that is my goal for the season. This is a really fast track to run on."
NATHAN ROBISON: "These events today were more of a time trial than an actual race. It went well and I think we were able to see how we do as a team together."
LARS KJERENGTROEN: "This was a good opener. I hope to make it to Nationals this year and become an All-American."
COACH MARK ROBISON: "I am very please with how they ran today. We have a strong 400, 800 and mile team. Nic set an unbelievable personal record today."