BYU men's track runner, Drew Foster, placed first in the 800m at the BYU Cougar Invitational. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- A successful home opening meet for the BYU men and women’s track teams is now complete after two days of competition in the Smith Fieldhouse at the BYU Cougar Indoor Invitational.
Athletes from BYU, Utah, Utah Valley, Weber State and Southern Utah participated in the annual BYU meet with the intention of testing their off-season training and establishing themselves on this years depth charts.
“It is usually a low-key event, but our athletes took it seriously and the results showed,” said BYU throwing coach Dick Legas. “Most of our marks would be good enough to get us into conference, which is incredible considering it is the first event of the year.”
The meet certainly favored the Cougars, as there were several records and national qualifying times set by the BYU women and men.
For the women Deezbaa Whaley performed exceptionally well in the weight throw, recording the fourth best throw in BYU history (57-00.25). Junior Amy Menlove continued to strengthen her BYU track resume with provisional national qualifying marks in the long jump (20-01.75) and in the pentathlon (4048), which ranks third best on the BYU all-time pentathlon records list.
Mindy Neeley-McClurkin also had a strong showing with a provisional national qualifying mark in the pentathlon (3823) and a first place finish in the 60m (7.62).
The future looks bright for BYU freshmen sisters Nachelle and Natalie Stewart, Nachelle took first in the 300m (39.66), while Natalie won the 400m (55.10) and both teamed up for a meet record in the 4x322m relay (2:54.71) with fellow teammates Menlove, and sister Diane Stewart.
Craig Poole, who is entering his 29th year as head coach of the women’s track team, was pleased with the results.
“This meet was without question the best opening meet we have ever had,” Poole said. “I couldn’t have been happier. I thought it was an all-around great effort, with everyone performing at a very high level.”
BYU men’s track head coach Mark Robinson was equally impressed by his team’s
“Today was another good day,” Robinson said. “I was very pleased with the way our athletes performed today. For our first week of competition this was an accomplishment for us.”
After Friday’s results were filled with best performances and meet records, the Cougars hoped to return from day two with more victories and top performances. Fortunately, the athletes’ hard work paid off.
In the triple jump, freshman Aaron Powell set a new meet record with a distance of 49 feet 3.5 inches. Freshman Kyle Mills placed second with a distance of 43 feet 9.75 inches.
In the high jump Trevor Heiner placed first with a height of 6 feet 8.75 inches, followed in second-place by BYU’s Wes Collett, clearing a height of 6 feet 4.75 inches.
Kyle Perry placed first in the one-mile race with a time of 4:12.24, second and third-place finishes went to Miles Batty with a time of 4:12.41 and Jason Witt, 4:16.25.
Freshman Rhyan Atrice brought the 400m home for the Cougars with a first-place finishing time of 48.65. He was followed by junior Bryan Payne in second with a time of 49.17 and third-place Taylor Pebley from Weber State with a time of 49.3.
Gaining yet two other first-place spots for BYU were Drew Foster in the 800m and Brandon Hebbert in the 3000m. Foster completed the 800m in 1:55.48; second and third place finishes went to two unattached runners. Hebbert completed the 3000m in a time of 8:30.42, with second and third place going to BYU sophomore’s Regan Frey, 8:37.57 and Nate Ogden, 8:38.68.
The BYU track teams will travel to Pocatello, Idaho to compete in the ISU Invitational next weekend.