PALO ALTO -- In one of the nation's premier track meets, BYU runners recorded three NCAA automatic qualifying times, and five provisional marks, in the distance events at the Stanford Invitational. The Cougar women's team automatically qualified one individual in the 10,000 meter run, and had two runners meet the standard in the 5,000 meters.
Senior All-American Tara Northcutt, the 10,000-meter champion at the 2000 NCAA outdoor meet, assured herself an opportunity to defend her title by turning in a time of 33:27.59 in her first race of the outdoor season. Northcutt was the first collegiate finisher and took third place overall in the event. Teammate Amy Bair finished the race in 35:24.09 to provisionally qualify for nationals. In the women's 5,000 meters, senior All-American Elizabeth Jackson recorded a time of 16:04.58 to finish first among collegiate athletes and third overall. Courtney Meldrum finished in 7th with a time of 16:12.45 to make it under the automatic standard of 16:13 as well. Sophomore Lindsay Thomsen (16:18.77) and senior Sharolyn Shields-Thayer (16:44.14) finished ahead of the NCAA provisional time of 16:48.
In the men's 10,000 meters, freshman Josh Rohatinsky turned in his best race of the season, finishing in 11th place with a time of 29:07.36, less than three seconds off the NCAA automatic qualifying time of 29:05. Senior John Hedengren completed the race in 29:48.53 to fall within the provisional mark.
At the El Paso meet, while the Cougars women struggled on the track, the field events competitors took several of the top spots in a variety of events. In the women's shot put, BYU went 1-2-3, as junior Becky Beachler won the event with a toss of 47'04.25" (14.43m), followed by Cathy Fuailemaa in second (43'07.75"/13.30m) and Maret Komarova (42"02.00"/12.85m) in third. The Cougars also swept the javelin throw, with junior Carrie Sanders taking the event with a throw of 140'03.00" (42.76m). Teammates Komarova (134'07.00"/41.02m) and Missy Wood (131'06.00"/40.08m) finished in second and third, respectively. In addition, senior Analee Carter took first in the high jump, clearing 5'06.00" (1.68m) to win the event.
For the men's team, senior All-American Jim Roberts made an impressive return after missing one week of competition due to injury. Roberts wasted little time qualifying himself for the NCAA championships, surpassing the automatic standard with a toss of 63'01.25" (19.23m) in the shot put. Teammates Mikel Gough (48'07.25"/14.81m) and Matt Holcomb (45'02.50"/13.78m) took second and third, respectively, in the event. Roberts also won the discus by over 30 feet, with a throw of 183'03.00" (55.86m). Senior All-American Jeff Hansen (17'00.75"/5.20m) and sophomore Jeremy Kemp (16'06.75"/5.05m) took the top two spots in the pole vault competition. The Cougar men also fared well on the track. Daymon Visser (14.70), Eric Myrup (14.79) and Chris Kemp (15.07) went 1-2-3 in the 110-meter hurdles, and senior All-American Kenneth Andam turned in a time of 10.13 to win the 100 meter competition.
The Cougars will host the BYU Invitational in Provo next Saturday. In addition, several athletes will travel to Austin, Texas next week to compete in the Texas Relays, held April 4-7 on the campus of the University of Texas.
For complete results of the UTEP meet, go to http://athletics.utep.edu/xcountry&track/01springtime.htm
Results of the Stanford meet can be found at www.gostanford.com