(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Shortly after a ceremony to rename the track & field complex at BYU after his grandfather and long-time coach, Clarence F. Robison, junior Nathan Robison won the 1,500 meters in a time of 3:46.10--his fastest time at altitude. Robison--the nation's top 1,500-meter runner--led a group of BYU runners who took the top five places in the race.
While the Cougars dominated the meet, winning 20 of the 30 events on Saturday--including 11 men's and nine women's--the day belonged to the Robison family.
"What a special day," BYU head men's coach Mark Robison said. "We couldn't have asked for anything better. It is such a great honor to have the track stadium named after my dad, then to see my son, Nathan, run the fastest time in the 1,500 of his life at this altitude, having all my brothers and sisters here, it was just exciting. This is as good as it gets."
On the day, both the men's and women's teamed up to record a total of 22 regional qualifying marks, including a meat-high 13 qualifying marks for the men and nine for the women.
"I'm totally excited with our performance today," head women's coach Craig Poole said. "We had some very fast times and some exciting races. The women's 400-meter hurdle race was right down to the wire, along with the 1,500 meter race. Those were two very fast, very exciting races, great performances. Today was just about perfect--ideal conditions for fans, athletes and coaches. It was great."
The day got off to a fast start on the track with BYU winning both the men's and women's 4x100-meter relays. Hillary Enloe, Amy Menlove, Anita Nygard and Jennifer Rockwell-Grossarth combined to win the 4x100-meter relay with a season-high time of 46.35, while the team of Paul Smith, Nate Soelberg, David Chesser and Matt Rowe won the men's competition in a season-best 40.91.
In the women's 1,500-meter race, BYU took second through fourth place, earning regional qualifying marks from Michaela Mannova (4:31.57) and Laura Turner (4:33.07). Both Mannova and Turner have also qualified for regionals earlier this season in the 5,000-meter competition. Ann Heiner finished fourth with a time of 4:34.46.
In the men's 1,500 meters, Robison won the event with the fastest time of his career at 4,500 feet, posting a time of 3:46.10. Robision currently leads the nation with a time of 3:40.89 in the event. Bryan Lindsay and Josh McAdams recorded regional qualifying marks in the event, finishing second and third with season-best times of 3:48.34 and 3:50.62 respectively. Dustin Trail finished fourth with a time of 3:53.59, while Doug Hall grabbed fifth place with a time of 3:55.37.
"My goodness, that was an exciting race," Coach Robison said. "That was absolutely fabulous. I couldn't be more pleased with the ways those guys went out there and took control of the race and finished the way they did. All of them had very good times."
Freshman Amy Menlove recorded a personal-best and regional qualifying time of 13.73 in the 100-meter hurdles, finishing as the top collegiate performer in the event. Her time currently ranks 11th in the West Regional. Former All-American Tiffany Lott-Hogan won the event with a time of 13.00. Senior Taylor Teerlink (14.42) and Hillary Enloe (14.46) finished sixth and seventh respectively.
"I said yesterday that Amy was going to break 14 seconds," Poole said. "She not only ran 13.73, but she qualified for regionals, which we're excited about. I told her before the race I wanted her to run under 13.8 seconds. She did. She is only going to get better with each race."
In the men's 110-meter hurdles the Cougars took the top-two places with Ben Gardner winning the event in a time of 14.55 and Daymon Visser finishing second in a time of 14.96.
After a winning performance in the 4x100-meter relay, Rowe and Chesser went one-two in the 400 meters with regional qualifying times. Rowe clocked a personal-best 46.81, missing the BYU record by just over one second. His time ranks seventh in the West Region, while Chesser recorded a 47.03 to set his season-best. In the women's competition, Mary Bennion won the event in a time of 55.77.
Rockwell-Grossarth outdistanced the field in the 100-meters to record a personal-best and regional qualifying mark with a time of 11.74. Her time currently ranks among the top 10 in the West Region. Menlove, after finishing as the top collegiate finisher in the 100-meter hurdles, turned around to finish third in the 100-meter dash in a time of 12.07.
In the men's 100-meters, Utah State's D.J. Smith pulled away at the finish line to win the event, while BYU's Paul Smith finished second with a personal-best time of 10.64. Nate Soelberg held on for third place in a time of 10.68.
"Paul and Nate did a great job," Coach Robison said. "Paul turned around and had a great 200-meter race. Nate has only been working out with us for about two weeks (after working out with the football team for the past month.) He ran a 10.97 yesterday, then turned around, one day later, to run a 10.68. I'm telling you, he is a very important part of our sprint team. He is a very gifted athlete."
Freshman Julie Cameron won the 800 meters with a personal-best and regional qualifying time of 2:08.22. All-American Kassi Andersen finished second with a season-best and regional mark of 2:08.79. (Andersen qualified earlier in the season in both the 800- and 1,500-meters.) Carolyn Quebe finished fourth with a season-best time of 2:13.27. In the men's competition, Lars Kjerengtroen won the event with a season-best and regional qualifying time of 1:50.34. Junior Jeff Taylor finished fourth with a time of 1:51.66.
No question, the most exciting race of the day was the women's 400-meter hurdles. Trailing by at least 10 yards going over the last hurdle, Rockwell-Grossarth turned on the afterburners to catch Utah State's Ameber Judd and Katie Thatcher at the finish line. The photo-finish revealed Rockwell-Grossarth had edged Judd at the finish line by .01 seconds. Rockwell-Grossarth crossed the line in 1:00.94 to win the event, while Taylor Teerlink finished fourth with a time of 1:02.88.
The men's race was just as exciting, as senior Greg Flint recorded the seventh fastest collegiate time in the country this season to win the event. Flint turned in a 50.58, followed by Ben Gardner (51.16), Kansas Whitear (51.37) and Daymon Visser (53.03) who finished third, fourth and sixth respectively. Along with Fling, Gardner and Whitear eared regional qualifying times.
After finishing second to Utah State's D.J. Smith in the 100-meter race, Paul Smith came back in the 200-meters to outdistance Smith with a personal-best 21.12 to win the event.
Rena Williams set a personal record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:49.22. With the regional qualifying time, Williams becomes the third BYU runner to qualify for the West Regionals later next month.
Both the men and women won their respective races in the 4x400-meter relay with the men taking the top two places and the women, comprised of Bennion, Menlove, Anita Nygard and Rockwell-Grossarth, had to come from 15 meters behind to win the event. Menlove, who ran the anchor leg, ran a 56.5 final lap to make up the difference and even managed a five-meter lead at the finish line.
In the field events, Niklas and Dan Arrhenius finished first and second in the discus with regional qualifying marks of 190-01 and 169-00 respectively. Rodrigo Medes won the triple jump with a regional mark of 51-04.25. In women's field events, Lindsey Sommer won the triple jump with a distance of 39-10.50, while Lindsey Metcalf won the high jump with a season-best, regional qualifying mark of 5-11.25.