BOISE, Idaho - Paced by a second, fifth and eight-place finish in the women's 10,000 meters, BYU grabbed its first 13 points of the meet on Thursday to finish the day in second place, just seven points behind current leader Southern Methodist. UCLA is just one point behind BYU with 12.
BYU All-American Tara Rohatinsky placed second in the finals of the 10,000 meters in a time of 34:04.02. Senior Marty Hernandez earned All-America honors with her fifth-place performance (34:09.88), while All-American Emily Nay rounded out the Cougar-heavy race with an eight-place finish (34:43.98).
"We're proud of our performance today," BYU women's head coach Craig Poole said. "Coach Shane had these girls prepared for this race and they went out and accomplished the game plan.
"With the 3,000 meters, hurdles, triple jump and other events still to come, we have the potential of picking up some valuable points over the next couple days. We'll just have to wait and see what happens. We'd like to win of course, but we want the girls to just go out and do their best."
Senior All-American Kirstin Bolm advanced in the 100-meter hurdles with a third-place finish in her heat, crossing the finish line in a time of 13.12. Bolm will enter Friday's semifinals ranked eighth and will need to finish eighth or better to advance to Saturday's finals.
In other women's action, Melanie Steer and Jolee Gillespie failed to make the cut in the 1500 meters, with Steere missing the finals by just three seconds. She finished seventh (4:29.77) in her heat, while Gillespie finished ninth (4:31.26). All-American Julie Bennion placed 14th in the semifinals of the 400 meters, turning in a 54.29. Gillespie needed to finish in the top-eight in order to advance.
In men's action, defending NCAA 100-meter champion cruised to an automatic berth in the semifinals with a 10.23 performance in the 100-meter preliminaries on Thursday. Teammate Kenneth Andam also qualified with a 10.49, but is doubtful for Friday's preliminary race, as well as the finals in the 4x100-meter relay on Friday. It is likely Andam's injury will cause him to also withdraw from the 200-meter prelims as well.
"We'll have to wait and see how he feels tomorrow," BYU head men's track coach Willard Hirschi said. "We are hesitant to use him and don't want to jeopardize his bright future. You can either be wreckless or conservative in a situation like this. We believe it is more important to live another day, as opposed to crash and burn."
According to Hirschi, if Andam is unable to compete, the 4x100-meter relay team will consist of Clayton Patch, Slade Combs, Thobias Akwenye and Myles-Mills.
"All of these guys are qualified for this race. It would be nice to have Kenneth in there, but if our exchanges are just right, we still have a very good chance in this race."
In perhaps the most "gutty" performance of the day, BYU freshman Bryan Lindsay earned the 12th and final spot for the finals in the men's 1,500-meters. Lindsay broke away from the pack with two laps remaining but finished sixth in his heat. Despite the sixth-place finish, his burst mid-way through the race allowed him to advance with a time of 3:49.38. According to Lindsay, it was a dream come true -- literally.
"Last night I had a dream that I gave it everything I had and finished 12th to earn a spot in the finals," he said. "My goal is to be an All-American. And the only way to accomplish that is to give myself a chance by getting to the finals. I gave it everything I had today.
"This trial was all or nothing for me. If I didn't finish at least 12th, my season would be over. I really had nothing to loose."
In other action, BYU's Jeff Lindsay finished 18th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:28.47.
On the men's side, BYU has yet to score, however the potential for picking up valuable points will occur on Friday as the team competes in the finals of the 4x100-meter relay and the pole vault. Stanford currently leads the men's competition with just 24 points.