BYU's distance medley relay team received an automatic bid to the NCAA Indoor National Championships along with setting a new school record of 9:29.97 in Notre Dame Friday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Breaking a new school record, the men’s track and field distance medley relay team received an automatic qualifying mark for nationals at the Alex Wilson Invitational in Notre Dame on Friday.
“We all ran how we wanted to today,” said senior All-American Kyle Perry. “Any time you can break a school record you can’t complain.”
Coming in second only to Virginia by .11 seconds, the Cougars broke the BYU record of 9:33.7 closing with a final time of 9:29.97 at Notre Dame. Virginia finished in 9:29.86.
“We’re super excited with how well we all ran,” said senior All-American Keith Jensen. “We all ran very solid and we’re confident we can do even better and place at nationals.”
The purpose for this meet and the Arkansas Last Chance Invitational was to gain a few last qualifying marks before the NCAA Indoor Championship. BYU came out successful in that goal.
Also in Notre Dame, junior Stephan Shay received a provisional qualifying mark in the 5000-meter with a final time of 14:05.84 for fourth place.
In Arkansas, senior All-American Whitney Neves also received a final provisional qualification in the pole vault. Neves came in second clearing a height of 17 feet 5.5 inches.
Representing the women, four athletes competed for the No. 20 BYU women’s track team in the Arkansas Last Chance Meet on Friday. The four individuals were looking to receive marks strong enough to qualify for nationals.
“I’m very pleased with the effort today,” said BYU women’s track and field head coach Craig Poole. “They all tried and competed at a high level, unfortunately I think they were a little tired from last weeks emotionally packed conference championships.”
While the Cougars were unable to attain qualifying marks, their efforts and results were impressive. Freshman standout Ada Robinson won the high jump event, clearing 5 feet 7.75 inches. Robinson owns the Mountain West Conference’s top jump this season at an NCAA provisional qualifying height of 5 feet10 inches.
Junior All-American long jumper Mindy Neeley took fourth (19 feet 5.25 inches) in the long jump event. Pole vaulters Kari Clark McAllister and Kelli Ehardt also performed well for BYU. Junior Clark McAllister placed fourth with a jump of 12 feet 9.5 inches and freshman Ehardt finished in seventh, jumping to 12 feet 5.6 inches.
“This was a great experience for these four athletes,” Poole said. “This meet sets them up for next year’s national indoor championships which will be held in this same facility."
The men and women track and field teams now prepare for the NCAA Indoor National Championships, which will begin Friday, March 13 and end Saturday, March 14.