Cougars Turn Up the Heat, In the Heat, at the NCAA Championships

DURHAM -- Amid 90-degree temperatures and humidity that pushed 80 percent, the BYU women's track & field team picked up five more points during the second day of competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships to hold a tight lead in the overall team competition.

Jeana Bingham earned All-America honors, scoring the only team points of the day for the Cougars with a fourth-place finish in the high jump (5'-11.75"). The five points put the Cougars at 23 heading into the final two days of competition.

"I just wanted to become an All-American, and I achieved that goal," said Bingham. "I knew that if I could make the first three heights I would be in the top eight. Getting fourth was a big bonus."

Kirsten Bolm opened the women's action on Thursday with a win in the first heat of the 100-meter hurdles, tying a personal best with a finish of 13.02 seconds. Bolm was the last competitor out of the blocks, but overcame the slow start to take a surprise win out of the inside lane. Just over half an hour later, Bolm was due up in the long jump preliminaries, entering the competition ranked fourth in the nation. Her best distance, a 20'-03.5" performance in the third round, left her in eleventh place at the end of the trials and out of the finals, where only the best nine advanced.

"Kirsten felt heavy and didn't have any pop after the hurdles," said women's coach Craig Poole. "Maybe the heat got to her, especially since she didn't have much time to rest."

The Cougars' 23 team points after two days have the team in position to finish ahead of last year's eighth-place finish in Boise. BYU finished with 28 points to earn that 1999 finish.

"We're doing just fine, and when you consider how the scoring went last year, I guess you could say we're ahead of schedule," said Poole.

The distance team followed up last night's one-two finish in the 10,000 meters with qualifiers in the 1,500- and 3,000 meters in the evening. Susan Taylor, who entered the championships with the second-highest qualifying time in the 1,500-meter field, qualified by placing third in her semifinal heat in 4:20.64. In the final women's event of the day, Sharolyn Shields picked up a qualifying spot in the 3,000 meters by finishing fourth in heat two (9:28.89). Shields ran in the sixth position throughout the majority of the race, before moving into fourth on the bell lap on a 400-meter kick to the finish line. Battling illness, Laura Heiner finished ninth in her heat and did not qualify for Saturday's final.

In men's action, BYU junior Jim Roberts chalked up All-America honors for the second straight season, claiming third-place in the shot put competition. Roberts held the lead through the first four puts with a mark of 64'-09.75". In the fifth round, Joaquin Olsen of Idaho hit 66'-05.75" to take the lead. Two other competitors eclipsed Roberts' mark, dropping the 6-5, 240-pound Texas native to fourth place. On his next put, Roberts recorded a life-time best 65'-11" to move back in to third place where he would stay through the sixth and final round.

In the 100-meter trials, junior Kenneth Andam finished third in the third heat with a time of 10.21to advance to Friday's semifinals.

Freshman sensation Curtis Pugsley, currently ranked fifth in the nation, will begin competition in the decathlon on Friday. Senior high jumper Marc Chenn will have to wait until Saturday evening to compete in the high jump.