Kassi Andersen and Michaela Mannova (back) compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Mannova made up the distance and passed Andersen to finish third. Andersen finished fouth in the event. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
AUSTIN -- Eight BYU athletes competed in five different events in the final day of competition at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday. Four more Cougars came away with All-America honors, including Nathan Robison in the 1,500m, Kassie Andersen and Michaela Mannova in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase and Matt Adams in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Over the four-day competition, a total of seven BYU athletes earned All-America honors.
The women's team finished in 15th place with 14 points in the team competition, while the men's team finished in a three-way tie for 26h overall with 11 points.
"I have really mixed emotions right now," men's coach Mark Robison said. "I thought we were going to do better, but it didn't work out that way. This was an incredible competition. The level of competition was incredible. Overall, I thought we could have scored more points, probably finish in the top-10, but it didn't work out that way.
"The good thing is, most of these guys have another year to compete. They'll be back again next year, so this is going to be a great learning experience."
"I'm elated with a top-15 finish," women's coach Craig Poole said. "I would have been pleased finishing in the top-20, but a top-15 finish is awesome. We are a young team, we had five girls competing for the first time. We look forward to great things next year. I think, overall, we had a very fine meet.
Following is an event-by-event recap of today's action.
Competitor: Curtis Pugsley (Sr., Park Valley, Utah)
110-m Hurdles (12:30 p.m.) -- Senior Curtis Pugsley started day-two of the decathlon with an 11th-place performance in the 110-meter hurdles. Pugsley clocked in at 14.80 to pick up 874 points and move in to 11th place overall with 3,895 points
Ryan Harlan from Rice won the competition with a time of 13.85 to earn 994 points. With his performance in the hurdles, Harlan extended his lead in the overall competition with 4,232 points.
Discus (1:00 p.m.) --
Pugsley finished eighth in the first flight with a best mark of 123 feet, 1 inch to earn just 614 points. Pugsley got the mark on his first attempt, fouled on his second and threw only 36.86 meters on his third and final attempt.
Pugsley dropped to 14th place overall with 5,383 total points. Harlan continues to lead the competition with 5,929 points. Pugsley needs to make up 107 points to move in to contention for All-America honors.
Maurice Smith of Auburn won the shot put with a mark of 159 feet to move in to third place in the overall standings.
Pole Vault ( 3:30 p.m.) --
Pugsley made a big move in the overall standings with a second-place finish in the pole vault with a clearance of 16 feet 4.75 inches to earn 910 points.
Javelin (6:00 p.m.) --
On his first attempt in the javelin, Pugsley was credited with a distance of 169 feet, 8 inches. That mark would hold through two more rounds, giving Pugsley a 14th-place finish in the event with 614 points.
With one event remaining, Pugsley was in eighth place with 6,907 overall points.
1,500m (8:00 p.m.) --
In the final event of the decathlon, Pugsley finished ninth in the second heat (14th overall) with a time of 4:48.69 to earn 627 points.
Pugsley finished the two-day, 10-event competition with 7,534 points, good for a 10th-place finish. As a freshman in 2000, Pugsley scored 7,531 points to finish fifth overall. In his final collegiate competition, Pugsley missed out on All-America honors by just 14 points.
"If you would have told me before the competition that Curtis would score 7,534 points and finish tenth, I wouldn't have believed you," Robison said. "He finished with three points less five years ago and finished fifth. There was some great competition this week. Some of their marks were incredible. I'm proud of Curtis, he did a great job."
Harlan (Rice) won the event with a two-day point total of 8,171 points. Mississippi State's Trey Hardee finished second with 8,041 points.
MEN'S 1,500m (7 p.m.)
Competitors: Nathan Robison (Jr., Provo, Utah); Bryan Lindsay (Jr. Orem, Utah)
After taking the lead with 400 meters remaining, Robison looked like he would win his first-ever national championship in the 1,500m. However, with 40 meters to go, Arkansas' Chris Mulvaney made a move to overtake Robison with less than 30 yards remaining. Mulvaney won the event in a time of 3:44.72, while Robison finished second with a time of 3:44.94 to earn All-America honors.
"It's been fun to have Nathan do so well this year," men's coach Mark Robison said. "It's been fun to wear a couple different hats. I'm obviously very happy as a father, as well as very pleased as his coach. Nathan ran a nearly perfect race. He beat some great people in that race. He held them off as long as he could. I'm very pleased. That was a heck of a race."
Tom Parlapiano of Villanova led the pack through the first two loaps in 60.1 and 64.5 (2:04.60) before Robison, who finished second at the NCAA Indoor championships this year, took the lead.
Robison pulled the field with a lap of 60.6 to pass 1200 meters at 3:05.20. As the sprint began for the final lap, which produced a 39.6 final 300m, Mulvaney began to make his move. Mulvaney reeled in Stanford's Donald Sage, teammate Said Ahmed, and finally Robison with 30 yards remaining. Mulvaney had finished as the second-place finisher the past two seasons.
BYU's Bryan Lindsay, after leading for a brief time at the 900-meter mark, finished 12th in a time of 3:50.27.
WOMEN'S 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE (7:10 p.m.)
Competitors: Kassi Andersen (Jr., Provo, Utah); Michaela Mannova (Jr., Dvur Kralov, Czech)
For the first time in the three-year history of the event, an athlete from BYU did not win the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor National Track & Field Championships. However, both BYU's Michaela Mannova and Kassi Andersen earned All-America honors with third- and fourth-place finishes, respectively. Mannova passed Andersen with just over 150 meters remaining to finish third in a time of 9:56.66, while Andersen finished fourth with a time of 9:58.38.
Briana Shook of Toledo and senior Ida Nilsson of Northern Arizona separated from the pack during the first 400 meters. Running an 80.2 through the first 400m, Shook and Nilsson controlled the race. With four laps remaining, Nilsson, who has finished second behind Mannova in 2002 and Andersen in 2003, took the lead. Nilsson began to pull away from Shook with laps of 84.6 and 82.6 to finish with a winning time of 9:48.29--a Myers Stadium record.
"The win is nice because I've missed out and lost to two different BYU girls in each of the last two years," Nilsson said. I wanted to go out with a win."
MEN'S 3,000-METER STEEPLECHASE (7:25 p.m)
Competitor: Matt Adams (Jr., Heber, Utah)
Junior Matt Adams turned on the after-burners with 400 meters remaining to reel in a two competitors to finish eighth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:59.11. Adams, who was sitting in 11th place with 400 meters remaining, overtook two competitors and extended his lead over Texas' Mark Floreani, who finished ninth, by more than four seconds to earn All-America honors.
WOMEN'S 5,000m (8:55 p.m.)
Competitor: Ruth Graham (Fr., Palo Alto, Calif.)
Freshman Ruth Graham finished 26th in the women's 5,000m, completing the race in a time of 18:19.3.