Cougars Struggle in Heat of Second Day of NCAA Championships

EUGENE -- Looking to defend her 10,000-meter title from the 2000 outdoor championships, BYU senior Tara Northcutt struggled with the heat and humidity to finish in a disappointing 18th place. Northcutt's time of 38:06.21 was more than four minutes off the pace of the winner, Arkansas senior Amy Yoder-Begley, who won in a time of 33:59.96. BYU sophomore Lindsey Thomsen finished in 9th place with a time of 35:09.74.

In the semifinals of the 1,500 meters, 12th-ranked Sharolyn Shields-Thayer finished sixth in the second heat in a time of 4:22.63. Thayer's time just missed qualifying for the finals by 13 one-hundredths of a second, and placed her 13th overall in the event.

In the men's decathlon, BYU sophomore Curtis Pugsley finished 14th in the event with 7,055 points. According to men's coach Mark Robision, Pugsley, who has been battling a lower abdominal strain for the past two months, was unable to perform at peak condition.

"Curtis has been unable to train for the past couple months due to his injury," Robison said. "By the end of the competition, Curtis was having a tough time. Our trainers did a great job keeping him in the competition, but when you aren't able to train for that long, especially before a national competition, it takes a toll. The thing about Curtis however, he's a competitor and he'll be back again next year. There just aren't many people who can come out here and compete at this level with out training. The fact Curtis was able to compete, tells you what kind of athlete he is."

Entering Thursday's competition, Pugsley sat in 11th place. The Park Valley, Utah native turned in a 15.17 in the 110-meter hurdles to remain in 11th place, however a 122'01.00" mark in the discuss dropped Pugsley back to 13th. In the pole vault, Pugsley missed his personal best by nearly two feet, clearing only 14'09.00" to remain in 13th place. A 10th-place finish in the javelin, with a mark of 171'01.00", was good for 620 points...

Senior sprinter Kenneth Andam automatically qualified for Friday's semifinals with a 10.25 in the 100 meters, finishing 3rd in the second heat. Andam's mark in the 100 meters marks his fastest time since turning in a personal-best 10.12 at the Weber State Invitational on April 14, 2001.