Aneta Lemiesz ran one of the nations best times in the 800 meters at UCLA this weekend. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
LOS -- After strong performances at the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational at UCLA, many of the Cougar track stars improved their standings on the national and regional qualifying lists.
BYU women's track coach Craig Poole the Cougars had great performances all weekend.
"We're in the fast lane right now, doing what we're supposed to be doing," he said.
The women's team is living up to its No. 3 ranking after adding a handful of regional qualifying marks and getting personal best performances from their young distance squad.
"We've got a talented group of young women right now that are working very hard," BYU women's distance coach Patrick Shane said.
Shane was particularly impressed with Aneta Lemiesz, Michelle Lindsay and Laura Taylor (800 meters), Kristy Barrus (3000m SC), Amber Duffin and Ann Marie Thomas. Shane called Thomas the most underrated runner in the state right now after she recorded a personal record in the 1,500 meters. Thomas has won four consecutive races this year.
The men's team was paced by the mile runners. All three Cougars set qualifying marks in the mile run, led by All-American Bryan Lindsay. Lindsay broke the four minute barrier in the mile, crossing the line in 3:59.16.
"It was great for him to break a four-minute mile," BYU men's track coach Mark Robison said. "It will convert into a great 1,500 meter time, probably one of the fastest in the nation."
Fellow All-Americans Nathan Robison and Josh McAdams also received regional qualifying marks in the race.
Robison also said he was pleased by the marks from the Arrhenius brothers (discus), Bryce Bergen and David Pendergrass (high jump) and Trent Powell and Robbie Pratt (pole vault). He said he was also excited to add a fifth qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles with Kansas Whitear.
All-American jumpers Lindsey Metcalf and Amy Menlove both received qualifying marks in their events. Menlove won the long jump with a season best 21 feet. She also won the 100-meter hurdles in a season best 13.61. Poole said she's just getting warmed-up after taking a couple of weeks off.
During Friday's competition, the Cougar hurdlers looked strong. On the men's side, Nate Rencher and Bryan Payne finished one-two in the 400-meter hurdles. Rencher crossed the line in 51.59, bettering his regional qualifying mark.
The women's hurdlers enjoyed a strong day from freshman Nicole Nevitt. Nevitt finished third in the 100-meter hurdles and second in the 400-meter hurdles. Both Nevitt's marks were season-bests (14.87 and 1:01.81). Teammates Lindsey Sommer, Julie Anderson and Sarah Lacey placed seventh, 11th and 12th in the 100-meter hurdles.
Andersen and Laura Hales tied for fifth in the 400-meter hurdles.
The women's team picked up a couple of individual victories during the distance carnival. Orem native Thomas won the 1,500 meters with a regional qualifying time of 4:26.47, while Allison Passey won her heat in 4:38.59.
Duffin finished second in the 5,000 meters with a team-best 17:30.86. Barrus and Sarah Ingebretsen finished third and fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
And Lindsay finished second overall in the women's 800 meters with a time of 2:09.63, as fellow Cougar Taylor won her heat of the race in 2:12.75.
The Cougar throwers also competed on Friday.
In the discus, Leif Arrhenius earned a regional qualifying mark of 173 feet 1 inch; just six inches shy of his season-best. Adam Pyne and Kevin Keys finished eighth and 12th in the event. Randy Patterson placed fourth in the shot put with a toss of 49 feet 3.75 inches.
The women's throwers were lead by Tiffany Arrhenius who threw the javelin 135 feet 3 inches. Kelly Jackson placed fourth in the javelin, followed by Candace Jones in fifth and Julie Andersen in 12th.
Chelsea Forsythe finished fourth in the shot put at 39 feet 4 inches with freshman Leli Fotu less than three inches behind in fifth place.
At the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, All-American long jumper Menlove leapt 20 feet 6.5 inches to finish fourth in the event. Menlove made the mark on her final attempt in the long jump. The mark betters her position on the regional qualifying list.
One of the Cougars other All-American jumpers, Lindsey Metcalf, placed sixth in the high jump. Her mark of 5 feet 10 inches was good enough for a regional qualifying mark.
The Cougars will now take some time to rest up during finals, while preparing for the biggest home meet of the year, the Robison Invitational, Apr. 20-23.
For complete results, please visit www.uclabruins.com and www.texassports.com.