LINCOLN, Neb. (February 12) - Senior Kirsten Bolm set a new career best and broke a school record in the 60-meter hurdles, winning the event at the Husker Invitational in an astounding 8.13 seconds, an automatic NCAA qualifying time and the second-fastest in the nation this year. In Indianapolis, at the talent-laden Canon IV Classic, BYU's women's distance runners picked up one automatic and nine provisional NCAA marks.
Although several athletes set personal bests in Lincoln, women's coach Craig Poole had hoped a few more NCAA qualifiers would come out of the meet. "We didn't do quite as well as we would have liked this weekend," said Poole. "We had some people come down with colds and others who weren't feeling well, but in spite of all that we did have some good performances."
Among the notable performances in the ultra-deep field of competition were a fifth-place finish in the high jump by Jeana Bingham (5'-8.75") and a sixth-place performance by Kristel Berendsen in the long jump (19'-0.75"). Nebraska native Becky Beachler placed fifth in the shot put with a 49'-7.25" throw.
On the men's side, national shot put leader Jim Roberts faced off against the best throwing talent in the country, and although his 62'-7.75" gave him a fourth-place finish, his year-best 64'-10.5" is still intact at the top this season. High jumper Marc Chenn was the Cougars' lone event champion for the men in Nebraska, tying for the win by clearing 7'-1". The distance runners were led by a pair of third-place finishes, Dula Parkinson in the mile (4:16.07) and Gary Wilson in the 3,000 meters (8:35.75). BYU's 4x400 team cut three seconds off their season-best time, taking second place in 3:15.24. All-American Jeff Hansen placed third in the pole vault, clearing 17'-6.5".
At this weekend's Cannon IV Classic, the women's distance runners demonstrated the form and depth that earned them the 1999 cross country title. Six-time All-American Elizabeth Jackson provided the meet's most outstanding performance with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 16:05.73 in the 5,000 meters. The time was good for second place and was nearly 13 seconds below the NCAA standard. Two more Cougars provisionally qualified in the event, Kara Ormond (fifth, 16:40.41) and Marty Hernandez (seventh, 16:41.60). The mile run produced three more provisional qualifiers in Tara Haynes (fourth, 4:45.69), Susan Taylor (10th, 4:47.20) and Lindsay Nadauld (11th, 4:47.22). In the 3,000 meters, Laura Heiner took third in 9:27.42 while teammate Sherida Rogers placed seventh in 9:39.71. Both times were NCAA provisional marks.
Two distance medley teams also provisionally qualified in Indianapolis. The team of Jolee Gillespie, Holly Gibbons, Nadauld and Taylor won the event in 11:21.90, followed by Sharolyn Shields, Milena Alver, Haynes and Rogers in third place in 11:30.05.
The final competition of the weekend took place at the Weber State Invitational, where some of the men's younger talent made their mark. The squad was led by Rick Madsen, who won both the long jump (23'-1") and the triple jump (48'8"). In other action, Rodney Wilkerson took second in both the 55 meters (6.31) and the 200 meters (22.06). Russ Elggren was edged in a .01 second photo-finish in the 55-meter hurdles, ending up second (7.49) and Chris Kemp was defeated by the same margin in the 400 meters (50.05).
"We had some excellent performances in a number of events," men's coach Willard Hirschi said. "We had some good competition and overall I'm very pleased with our performance heading into the conference meet."
Next on the schedule for both teams is the Air Force Open in Colorado Springs Saturday, Feb. 19. The open will be the final tune-up for the Cougars before the Mountain West Conference Championships Feb. 24-26, also in Colorado Springs.