PROVO, Utah (April 22) - Olympic hopeful Kirsten Bolm scored wins in three events to lead the BYU women in a successful afternoon of competition at the Clarence Robison Invitational.
Bolm, a senior from Scheesel, Germany, carried on the form that made her an All-American in two events at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Bolm claimed her first win in the long jump, leaping 21'-2" to win the event by more than two feet. Bolm followed that win with a victory in the 100-meter dash. Her time of 11.68 was the best on the team this season and the fifth-best in school history in an event she ran for the first time this year. The 100-meter hurdles competition matched Bolm against former teammate Tiffany Lott-Hogan, a former world record-holder and fellow Olympic hopeful. Bolm started the race several paces behind Lott-Hogan, but pulled ahead on the straight-away to win the race. Bolm's time of 13.08 was an NCAA automatic mark and a new season high.
"Kirsten is really moving in the right direction," said head coach Craig Poole. "She hasn't been doing as much speed work lately, as she's been spending more time in the weight room and on resistance training to get stronger. I think it's really paying off for her."
Sprinter Danna Rast-Barker also made her presence felt in the short races, claiming second place in the 100 meters (11.88) and first in the 200 meters (24.29). Barker set season-bests in both events despite battling an intestinal virus over the weekend. Barker then returned to the track to anchor the winning 4x100 team (46.10) and to run the third leg for the second-place 4x400 team (3:47.26). The 4x400 team took more than nine seconds off the previous BYU season-best.
Holly Gibbons had a breakout performance in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing first among collegians and third overall in 58.75 seconds. Gibbons' time was a new personal best, an NCAA provisional mark, and the third-fastest in school history. Teammate Milena Alver also set a new personal-best in the event, finishing in fifth-place (59.47).
In field event action, All-American pole vaulter Becky Jackson narrowly missed setting a new BYU record but still managed a 12'-3.75", third-place performance. Jackson came up just short in three attempts at 12'-9", which would have allowed her to surpass her own record of 12'-6.75", set in 1998. Becky Beachler used a toss of 47'-6.75" to claim victory in the shot put for the Cougars, while Kathy Sorenson (39-2.5) and M.E. Clayton (38-4.75) placed second and third in the triple jump.
"We are looking good right now," said Poole. "Final exams are over, so the athletes are loosening up and should improve their times in the coming weeks. The best you can hope for is personal-bests and we had our fair share of them today."
The Cougars return to action next weekend, participating in two big meets out east. BYU will send split squads to the Drake Relays and the Penn Relays, both of which are held Apr. 26-29.