Sean Richardson placed first in the javelin with a distance of 65.09 meters, earning him a regional qualifying mark. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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PROVO -- Despite the cold weather, it was a successful home-opener for the BYU track and field teams with four athletes qualifying for Regional’s and several receiving personal best marks at the Cougar Invitational.
“Under the conditions we had today, this was a very good meet,” said BYU men’s track and field head coach Mark Robison. “Each week we need to improve, and we had several athletes that stepped up and did very well. Across the board it was a great day to compete for BYU.”
The men’s team placed first in more than a dozen events, demonstrating the strength of both the track and field teams.
In the running events, the Cougars pushed their way through in both the distance and short races.
Sweeping the top spots in the 1500-meter run, the Cougars dominated the first through fourth spots. Pulling in first and second were freshmen standouts Jason Witt and Justin Hedin, with finishing times of 3:58.35 and 3:58.54, respectively. Following close behind in third was Robert Harrison in 3:59.35 while junior Richard Nelson closed in the top four in 4:00.05.
Pulling a strong presence in the 3000-meter steeplechase, BYU closed in the top two spots due to performances by Reagan Frey for first with 9:38.36 and Travis Fuller in second with 9:43.00.
Leading another sweep for the Cougars in the 400-meter was junior All-American Kevin Biesinger with a first-place time of 48.53. He was followed by Rob Skidmore in second, 49.16, McKade Brady in third, 49.47 and Kevin Ahlstrom in fourth, 49.52.
The 800-meter proved to be another strong sweep with senior All-American Kyle Perry in 1:50.93, followed by All-American Jacob Gustaffson in second, 1:51.52 while Miles Batty and Drew Foster came in third and fourth with times of 1:51.76 and 1:53.00. Continuing the sweep through fifth and sixth were Michael Andraszczyk and Brandon Babiracki, respectively.
Closing up the running events in the short distances were first-place finishes in the 400-meter hurdles and 200-meter run. Lance Walker came in first in the hurdles with 54.25 followed by Ahlstrom in second with 54.67. Rob Skidmore captured the 200-meter top spot with 22.14 followed by Biesinger in second with 22.42.
BYU’s “A” team won the 4x400 meter relay to finish up the meet with a final time of 3:21.76.
In the field events, the Cougars tallied several additional first-place rankings.
Oliver Whaley placed first in the hammer throw with 57.10 meters (187 feet 4 inches) while Daniel Lawson followed suit in the discus with a first-place distance of 53.49 meters (175 feet 6 inches).
In the jumps the Cougars came in first for the long, triple and high jumps. Leading the long jump was freshman Brett Birkeland landing a final distance of 6.71 meters (22 feet 0.25 inches) while Anse Myller DeAraujo placed second with 6.68 meters (21 feet 11 inches).
Myller improved his win to take the first-place spot for the triple jump with 14.39 meters (47 feet 2.5 inches). Right behind him in second was Konrad Rywelski pulling strong with 14.32 meters (46 feet 11.75 inches). Stealing the win for the high jump was Trevor Heiner clearing a height of 2 meters (6 feet 6.75 inches) to top off the jumps for BYU.
Keeping a strong tradition going, the pole vaulters could not upset the team. Clearing a distance of 5.20 meters (17 feet 0.75 inches) seniors All-American Whitney Neves and Robert Low placed first and second, earning regional qualifying marks.
The javelin earned another sweep for BYU as Sean Richardson stole another first-place finish for BYU and a regional qualifying mark with a distance of 65.09 meters (213 feet 6.50 inches). The second regional mark went to Blaine Baker with 63.87 meters (209 feet 6.5 inches) while Spencer Fausett closed in third with 56.73 meters (186 feet 1.5 inches).
Earning another regional mark for the Cougars at the Texas Relays was Aaron Powell, clearing a distance of 15.04 meters (49 feet 4 inches).
The Cougars are back on the road next week, splitting between the Weber State Invitational in Ogden, Utah and the Sun Angel Invitational in Tempe, Ariz.