PHILADELPHIA, Penn. (April 29) - In a pair of prestigious, invitation-only meets, the BYU women's track team butted heads with many of their future NCAA opponents this weekend at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia and at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.
Just a year after shattering the school record in the distance medley, BYU fielded another record-setting team at the Penn Relays, as Holly Gibbons, Sharolyn Shields, Melanie Steere and Susan Taylor shaved more than a second off last year's recordto finish in 10:56.12, good for second. Steere was the lone returnee from last year's record-setting squad that ran a 10:57.51 at the 1999 Penn Relays. Shields, Steere and Taylor also teamed up again in the 4x1500 relay, joining Sherida Rogers to place third in 17:47.28.
Kirsten Bolm continued her standout season in Philadelphia, running a season-best and automatic NCAA time of 13.05 in the 100-meter hurdles. Bolm placed fourth in what was most likely a preview of the NCAA championship field in the event. Competing in the long jump later in the weekend, Bolm jumped 20'-6.5" to take second place.
In other action at the Penn Relays, Holly Gibbons (58.89) and Milena Alver (59.86) finished fourth and 11th, respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles. Gibbons and Alver are two of only seven BYU athletes to ever run the event in under a minute, and the pair are currently sitting at fourth and sixth, respectively, on the all-time list. Laura Heiner, ranked No. 7 nationally in the 3,000 meters, finished 11th in the event at Penn in 9:31.32.
At Drake, NCAA qualifier Amy Curtis threw the javelin 152'-7" to take second, and teammate Carrie Sanders followed up in 11th place with a throw of 126'-8". All-American Becky Jackson continued her quest to return to the NCAAs, clearing 11'-5.25" for an 11th-place finish.
The Cougars return to action this weekend, as they host a tri-meet against Washington and Utah State Saturday, while sending a distance squad to California for the Stanford Invitational Friday evening.