(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The competition was strong and the weather perfect for the final day of the track and field annual Robison Invitational at Brigham Young University Saturday.
"The meet was really fun because it wasn't huge but there was some great competition," men's coach Mark Robison said. "Days like today are the days we pray for. It was a good wind and a beautiful day."
In-state rivals Paul Smith of BYU and DJ Smith of Utah State University were hip-to-hip in the men's 100 meters all the way to the finish line. DJ took the win with a time of 10.36 and Paul finished second with a time of 10.47. Paul later pulled away early and stayed ahead to win the 200 meters by a large margin with a regional-qualifying time of 21.07.
The men's 400-meter team of Smith, Nate Soelberg, Cody Fonnesbeck and Ben Gardner won the event after a kick from Gardner down the final stretch edged the team past USU and across the finish line with a time of 40.59. Gardner, Smith, Jason Howard and Chris Carter won the 1600-meter relay with a time of 3:09.36.
Freshman Mindy Neeley had a successful day of competition, winning the 100, 200 and anchoring the first-place 400-meter relay team. Her time of 24.53 in the 100 meters was a team season best. BYU freshman Emily Page took third in the 200 meters with a time of 12.34. Neeley's time of 24.53 in the 200 meters was a personal and team best. Kelly Nesbit-Furr, Sarah Lacey and Ashley Tolson were also members of the winning 400-meter relay team.
BYU's Challis Firl took second with a time of 56.64 in the 400 meters, a team season-best time. Michelle Lindsay took fourth in the race with a time of 57.17. Freshman Jason Howard took a fourth-place finish for the men's 400 meters with a personal record in his time of 47.89.
Jake Garlick and Nate Rencher took second and third, respectively, in the 110-meter hurdles, both finishing with the regional-qualifying time of 14.19. Heptathlon All-American Wiley King of Weber State won the event with a time of 14.09.
The top five athletes in the 400-meter hurdles qualified for regionals led by freshman Chris Carter with a time of 50.40. Gardner finished third followed by Garlick and Rencher.
Sophomore Sarah Lacey finished third in the women's 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.28. Nicole Nevitt finished third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:00.54.
Jacob Gustafsson put his all into the 800-meters to pull away from the pack and win the event with a regional-qualifying time of 1:49.45. Freshman standout Kyle Perry followed in second, also qualifying for Regionals with a personal-best time of 1:49.87.
Another freshman, Derek Taylor, had a personal-best as well, adding another regional qualification to the Cougar ranks with his win the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:15.74. Fellow Freshman Josh Adams finished second with a time of 9:25.43. Ann Heiner took second in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal-best time of 10:54.47.
Steeplechase All-American Rena Chesser finished second in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:31.07 just behind USU's Kristen Guymon. The next Cougar to cross the finish line was Laura Taylor, finishing fourth with a time of 4:33.45.
"I'm very, very, very please with today's performances," women's coach Craig Poole said. "We're going in the right direction, on the right track, doing it the right way."
Men's steeplechase All-American Josh McAdams narrowly won the mile with a time of 4:05.25. Second place went to former BYU athlete Nathan Robison, running unattached. He was followed by BYU's Dustin Bybee with a third-place finish and a time of 4:06.03.
Reigning national champion Robbie Pratt won the pole vault competition with a jump of 18 feet 1/2 inch. He was followed by Bob Low in second and Whitney Neves in third, both vaulting to a height of 17 feet 3/4 inch. BYU pole vault record-holder Mandy Kelly-Lonsway won the women's competition with a height of 13 feet 3.5 inches followed by Kelly Nesbit-Furr with a height of 12 feet 11.5 inches.
In the high jump, Mountain West Conference high jump champion David Pendergrass went 6 feet 10.75 inches to win. Just behind him BYU teammates Trevor Heiner and Ammon Dahl tied for third with a height of 6 feet 6.75 inches. Pendergrass returned to finish second in the triple jump with a jump of 47 feet 10 inches. Friday's long jump champion, Matt Anderson, returned to win the triple jump with a jump of 48 feet 5.5 inches.
BYU's Kristin Hirst took the win on the women's high jump competition with a winning height of 5 feet 5 inches. Teammates Ashley Payne and Sarah Lacey tied for second with their height of 5 feet 3 inches in the event.
Niklas Arrhenius, the number-two thrower in the nation in the discus, took second in the event Friday. He returned Saturday to finish fourth in the shot put with a throw of 55 feet 4.25 inches and fifth in the hammer with a throw of 163 feet 8 inches. BYU's Aubrey Cowan took fifth in the discus with her throw of 124 feet 2 inches.
Full results for the Robison Invitational can be found here.
The Cougars will compete at the Weber Twilight Wednesday and then will host the MWC Championships May 10-13 and NCAA West Regionals May 26-27 in Provo. For ticket information or meet results visit www.byucougars.com or www.byutrack.com.