Nik Arrhenius is one of more than three dozen Cougars to earn regional qualifying marks this year. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The No. 3 BYU women's track team and the No. 19 BYU men's track team head to Southern California this weekend for the third annual Rafer Johnson/Jackie-Joyner Kersey Invitational hosted by UCLA.
Coming off a strong meet last week at home, the Cougars will look to add some more athletes to the regional qualifying lists. Currently, the women have 12 qualifying marks lead by freshman Heidi Magill, who has the second-best mark in the nation in the 800 meters.
The men, meanwhile, have earned 21 qualifying marks including four from hurdlers Jake Garlick, Ben Gardner, Bryan Payne and Nate Rencher, two from pole vaulters Trent Powell-with the best mark in the nation-and Robison Pratt and two more from throwers Nik and Leif Arrhenius in the discus.
Collegiate teams competing in the meet include Stanford, Arizona, BYU, Illinois, Hawaii, Utah State, CS Northridge, Cal Poly SLO, UC San Diego and Point Loma.
The meet will kick off on Thursday with the hammer throw competition at 1:30 pm, while the remainder of the meet will take place on Friday and Saturday. On Friday (university open events), field event competition begins at 11:00 am with the women's javelin and running events begin at 12:45 pm with the 100-meter hurdles. There will be a distance carnival on Friday night, at 6 p.m. On Saturday (invitational events), competition begins at 11:45 am with the women's high jump, while running events begin at 12:15 pm with the 400m relay. A special ceremony will be held at 2:40 pm to honor Rafer and Jackie.
The women's track team sent several athletes to Austin, Texas for the 78th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Multi-event stars Liis Berendsen and Maret Komarova are competing in the heptathlon, while All-Americans Lindsey Metcalf, Amy Menlove and Kamila Rywelska are competing in the jumps.
Berendsen placed sixth in the two-day competition, finishing strong in the javelin and 800 meters. Komarova placed 16th overall.
Those competing in Texas are expected to join the rest of the team in California, when the majority of competition begins on Friday.
A recap of the day's events will be available on www.byucougars.com as competition concludes each day. A recap of Friday's late events will be available Saturday night, along with Saturday's events.