AUSTIN, Texas (April 8) - BYU had a chance to see how it stacked up against the best talent in the country this weekend, producing NCAA qualifiers at the Texas Relays, the Hayward Relays, and the UNLV Invitational. Leading the way was All-American Kirsten Bolm, who qualified in two events, placing second in the long jump and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles.
Bolm tied a school record with a leap of 21'-6", narrowly missing victory in the long jump, but automatically qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the event. Her time of 13.23 in the 100-meter hurdles provisionally qualified her for the NCAAs. Also impressive in Texas was freshman Anna-Lee Walcott, who set a new personal best in the heptathlon (5,131 points) to place seventh. The score was the second-highest by a freshman in school history, only a few points behind 1998 national champion Tiffany Lott's freshman best. Kelly Blair, a 1996 Olympian, won the event with a new Texas Relays record of 6,217, breaking the old record set by Lott.
In men's action, Kenneth Andam returned to pre-injury form with a sixth-place performance in the 100 meter final. His time of 10.28 seconds is an NCAA provisional mark. Kyle Grossarth, currently ranked in the top ten in the 400-meter hurdles, finished seventh in the event with a time of 52.44. Marc Chenn also took seventh, in the high jump, with a season-best and NCAA provisional mark of 7'-2.25".
"The Texas Relays is one of the best meets we attend and one of the best around," said women's coach Craig Poole. "We gained some valuable experience there this week, and I think everything's looking very fine for the season ahead."
In Eugene, Ore., men's and women's split squads represented the Cougars at the Hayward Relays, held on the campus of the University of Oregon. The women brought their total of qualifiers in the 3,000 meters to five with the additions of fourth-place finisher Sherida Rogers (9:27.76) and fifth-place Marty Hernandez (9:32.50), who ran to NCAA provisional marks. Sprinter Danna Rast-Barker continued her comeback from injury with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter dash, winning her section with a time of 24.51 seconds. The 4x800 team ran a 8:44.53 to place second, while the distance medley team took third in 11:31.56.
Hurdler Randy Himes was the only BYU athlete to win an event in Eugene, taking the 110-meter hurdles title with a time of 14.49. In the distance events, John Hedengren took more than 30 seconds off his season-best in the 5,000 meters to place third in the event (14:13.76), while Trevor Pettingill finished fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:11.40.
At the UNLV Invitational Friday and Saturday, a small contingent of Cougars placed third in both men's and women's competition. UNLV took the women's title with 171 points, followed by Idaho (165), BYU (107.5), CS Dominguez (56), Southern Utah (53.5), and Western State (25). Southern Utah placed first among men's teams with 157.5 points, followed by Western State (119.5) and BYU (75).
Headlining the performances was Jeana Bingham, who captured the high jump title with an NCAA provisional mark of 5'-10.75". Vickie Tams claimed a win in the 400-meter hurdles (1:03.89). M.E. Clayton jumped 38'-11.75" to take the triple jump title, and Carrie Sanders won the javelin with a throw of 143'-9". Picking up wins on the men's side were Seth Chappell in the 800 meters (1:57.16), Kyle Fullmer in the 5,000 meters (15:45.51) and Scott Warren in the long jump (20'-11.25").
Both teams head to Walnut, Calif., next weekend to participate in another prestigious qualifying meet, the Mount San Antonio College Relays, Apr. 13-15.