MODESTO, Calif. (May 13) - For the second time in as many weeks, Becky Jackson broke the BYU pole vault record, clearing 12'-10.25" in a three-way tie for first place at the Modesto Relays Saturday. At the Cardinal Qualifier Friday in Palo Alto, Calif., Melanie Steere placed second in the 800 meters in 2:05.40, good for second on the BYU all-time list.
Jackson had broken her own school record in last weekend's home tri-meet against Washington and Utah State when she cleared 12'-9.5" to take the event title before upping the mark at Modesto. Her record jump was just two inches shy of the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying standard, a mark Jackson narrowly missed in three attempts over 13 feet. "She's peaking at the right moment," said women's assistant coach Dick Legas. "It looks like she's headed to nationals, and the way she's vaulting I wouldn't be surprised to see her break the record again."
In other action at the relays, All-American Kirsten Bolm placed fourth in the long jump (20'-6.5") and third in the 100-meter hurdles (13.15). Bolm has automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in both events. Becky Beachler finished ninth in the shot put with a toss of 45'-11.25".
At the Cardinal Qualifier, Steere's 2:05.40 performance in the 800 meters moved her into seventh in the national rankings and practically guaranteed her a spot in the NCAA Championships. The time is the best in the Mountain West Conference this season, and the best by a Cougar since Julie Jenkins ran a 2:00.50 in 1987. Teammate Nan Evans also set a personal best in the race, finishing in eighth in 2:09.34. In the 10,000-meter race, NCAA provisional qualifiers Laurel Hildebrandt and Sarah Ellett moved up in the national rankings, finishing sixth and eighth, respectively, in the final. Hildebrandt took more than 45 seconds off her previous best, and her weekend time of 34:37.69 moved her from No. 49 to No. 20 in the national standings. Ellett's 34:43.74 was over 26 seconds better than her personal-best, moving her from No. 35 to No. 24.
Both the women and the men return to action this weekend in the Mountain West Conference Track and Field Championships, May 17-20 in Provo.