PROVO -- Current and former BYU runners nearly completed a sweep in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Trials, taking four of the top five places. Elizabeth Jackson shattered the American record by over nine seconds, and took ten seconds off her personal best, finishing in 9:57.20. Kara Ormond, who graduated from BYU in April, finished in third in 10:03.09, followed by Courtney Meldrum (10:04.41) and Tara Haynes (10:04.45). The lone runner separating the BYU group was Laura Nye, who finished second in a time of 10:00.63.
In addition to scoring the win, Jackson became the first American woman to break 10 minutes in the event. In 1997, she recorded the fastest time in the U.S., and she had the second-fastest time in 1998 and 1999. She won the 3000-meter steeplechase at the 1999 USATF Nationals, and going into the Olympic Trials, Jackson held the fastest U.S. time this year. She recorded a 10:17 earlier in the season, and, as with most of her races, she ran it at an altitude of 4500 feet.
Meldrum pioneered the women's steeplechase for BYU. Her 10:23.47 was the fastest time in the U.S. in 1996.
Though the women's 3000-meter steeplechase will not be an Olympic event until 2004, it will make its NCAA debut in the upcoming track season. Meldrum still has a year of track eligibility left, and Jackson redshirted the 2000 track season in anticipation of the steeplechase status change. Haynes, who was a junior on the Cougar track team this year, will be back next year for her senior season as well.
2000 Olympic Trials
1 Elizabeth Jackson BYU 9:57.20
2 Lisa Nye Nike 10:00.63
3 Kara Ormond BYU 10:03.09
4 Courtney Meldrum BYU 10:04.41
5 Tara Haynes BYU 10:04.45
6 Tonya Dodge Syracuse Chargers 10:13.83
7 Desiree Owen Nike 10:18.85
8 Emily Mulick Idaho State 10:25.79
9 Heather Bury Unattached 10:34.69
10 Katie Baloga Fila 10:36.73