Heidi Magill is one of 17 Cougars to compete at the NCAA Championships this weekend. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Sophomore Amy Menlove and senior Bryan Lindsay headline a contingency of 17 track athletes from BYU to compete in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. this weekend.
Menlove and Lindsay are the only two Cougars to qualify in more than one event.
Menlove will compete in both the long jump and the pentathlon during the championships, while Lindsay will run the mile and 3,000-meter races. Lindsay also helped the Cougars qualify in the distance medley relay, but will not compete in the DMR, focusing on his other two events instead.
The Cougars are excited for the chance to compete on the national stage.
"There's no reason everybody we're taking can't or shouldn't be an All-American," BYU men's track coach Mark Robison said. "Our goal is to be top-10."
Robison said this is the most athletes he's taken to nationals since he's been the coach. He also said most the athletes have been to the NCAAs before, giving the Cougars a solid chance to improve on last year's 27th-place finish.
Also scheduled to compete for the men during nationals include: Nathan Robison (mile), Josh Rohatinsky (3,000m), Lars Kjerengtroen, Jason Dorais, David Chesser and Josh McAdams (distance medley relay), Robison Pratt and Trent Powell (pole vault), Rodrigo Mendes (triple jump), and Leif Arrhenius (weight throw).
The women qualifiers, not counting Menlove, include: Heidi Magill (mile), Laura Turner (5,000m), Lindsey Metcalf (high jump), Kamila Rywelska (triple jump) and Liis Berendsen (pentathlon).
Turner, Metcalf and Rywelska will bring NCAA championship experience with them to Fayetteville. Those three were named All-Americans last year. Turner in the outdoor 10,000 meters, Metcalf in the indoor and outdoor high jump and Rywelska in the indoor triple jump.
BYU women's track coach Craig Poole said the team is looking forward to competing.
"Everybody we wanted to qualify got in," Poole said. "We're going to have lots of fun and just do our best."
Poole also added the increased quality of competition at nationals will challenge his team, but will also bring great results.
The women's team finished 15th at last year's NCAA Indoor Championship. Currently, Trackwire.com ranks the women No. 7, with the United States Track Coaches Association gives them a No. 8 power ranking.
The men meanwhile are ranked No. 15 by Trackwire.com, but have earned a No. 4 power ranking from the USTCA, trailing only Indiana, Florida and Wisconsin.
With a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, the Cougars are poised to improve on last year's finishes as they look forward to competing in the outdoor season.
Results will be available on www.byucougars.com at the conclusion of competition each day.