SAN DIEGO -- Despite various circumstances, BYU's Kirsten Bolm and Dan Parkinson are each the somewhat unexpected leaders in the multi events after the first day of competition at the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in San Diego, Calif.
With pre-meet favorite Curtis Pugsley sidelined due to an injury, Parkinson has taken over to produce valuable points for the Cougars and currently sits atop the leader board in the decathlon after the first day of competition -- although by the narrowest of margins. The native of Lindon, Utah, leads the field with 3,540 first-day points, while Kurt Duffy of the Air Force Academy is in second with 3,536 points. The 5-foot-10 junior picked up 767 points in the high jump, finishing second with a mark of 6'05", while adding 755 points in the 100 meters with a winning time of 11.49. He recorded a decathlon PR in the shot, posting a second-place toss of 39'05.75" in the event. Parkinson also added 688 points in the long jump.
"Dan did a great job today," men's coach Mark Robison said. We knew coming in he would be one of the top two guys out here. Right now there are only four points between him and Duffy. They are sure to make this an exciting race. It will be interesting to see how this plays out tomorrow. It should come down to the final event."
Pugsley, a 2000 All-American, winner of the 2000 MWC Outdoor Championship and top scoring male athlete at last year's outdoor league championships has been sidelined for the past couple weeks with a lower abdominal strain. It is expected Pugsley, who has previously qualified for the NCAA Track & Field Championships, is expected to be ready for the national competition, beginning May 30 in Eugene, Ore.
"From a team perspective, it's hard to lose a guy like Curtis," Robison said. "It's likely a guy like that could give you 25-30 points at a meet like this. There is no doubt we will miss him. But the nice thing is, we have some guys who know they have to pick up the slack and score some points."
In the women's competition, Bolm an All-American and world-class hurdler was approached by head coach Craig Poole to contemplate competing in the heptathlon -- a task she has never before attempted. Having already qualified for the NCAA Championships in the hurdles, Poole felt Bolm had a legitimate shot at qualifying for Nationals in the heptathlon as well.
"This is something we have been wanting Kirsten to try for some time," Poole said. "We already knew she was a great athlete and we knew she would do well in the heptathlon, but it was just getting Kirsten to believe that as well. I think when she has a chance to sit down and think about today and then look ahead to tomorrow, she will really turn it on. It's possible she could win this thing with the top score in the nation this year, which would of course make her the favorite at the NCAA's."
Despite a slow, soft track, Bolm has scored an impressive 3,605 points after day one and is on pace to score between 5,800 and 6,000 points, which would rank as the top point total in the nation. Bolm needs only a 5,550 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Bolm posted 1,036 points in the hurdles, winning her specialty event in 13.60. She also won the high jump with a leap of 5'10" and posted a PR in the shot put with a toss of 41'01.75". She added another 919 points in the 200 meters with a second-place finish of 24.65.
Freshman standout Maret Komarova is currently in third place with 3,085 points. Komarova held the lead in today's competition for a brief time after winning the shot put with a mark of 43'00.50". She ran the hurdles in 15.04 and cleared 5'05.25" in the high jump and recorded a time of 27.04 in the 200 meters.
For a complete schedule and results for the 2001 MWC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, please visit the Mountain West Conference website at: http://mountainwestconf.fansonly.com/sports/c-track/stats/051601.html.