PALO ALTO -- With most of the team in El Paso at the UTEP Springtime Invitational, the BYU men's and women's distance squads had an impressive performance at the Stanford Invitational, recording two automatic qualifying marks and five provisional qualifying marks on the first day of the meet.
In the 10,000-meter run, Devra Vierkant was one of two Cougars to earn an automatic qualifying mark, finishing sixth in 33:56.02. Lindsey Thomsen also earned a trip to the NCAAs, finishing ninth in 33:58.20. With a time of 34:32.48, Jessie Kindschi had a provisional qualifying time to become the third potential BYU representative in the 10,000 at the NCAA Championships.
Junior All-American Nan Evans won the top section of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:14.16, a provisional qualifying mark. She was joined by freshman Breanne Sandberg, who had a provisional time of 10:28.87 for the Cougars. Jaime Cottle had a provisional time of 4:22.98 in the 1,500 to finish off the Cougar women who qualified at the meet. Michael Thatcher turned in a provisional mark on the men's side in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:52.27.
Despite the absence of most of its top distance athletes, BYU claimed both the men's and women's team titles at the UTEP Springtime Invitational. The men finished with 166 points to edge out the host Miners, who finished with 158, followed by Kansas State and New Mexico in a third-place tie with 137. The women's team scored 146 points to knock off Illinois, who was second with 125. UTEP finished third with 110, New Mexico was fourth with 85 and Kansas State was fifth with 82.
The Cougar women had three event wins and eight second-place finishes to give them the team title. Lindsay Johnson had a throw of 156-07.50 (47.74) to win the javelin and teammate Missy Wood had a throw of 144-05.00 (44.02) to give BYU a one-two finish. The Cougars also had a one-two finish in the 5,000, where Kristen Ogden crossed the line in 18:22.75 for the victory and Emily Mars was second in 18:27.72.
The other BYU win on the women's side came from Kendal Hathaway in the 400-meter hurdles. Hathaway finished in a season-best 1:02.41 for the Cougars. Other second-place finishers for BYU were Jennifer Rockwell in the 400 (55.68), Julia Ostler in the 800 (2:14.96), Katie Moon in the 1500 (4:46.83), Bonnie Jacobs in the pole vault (11-11.75/3.65) and Nikki Hughes in the long jump (19-03.25/5.87). The 4x400 relay squad also finished second in a season-best 3:48.18.
"I was very pleased with the competitive attitude we displayed today," BYU women's head coach Craig Poole said. "We had a big-time bounceback from last week and we performed well. It was a night and day change."
The men were led by Daniel Arrhenius, who had two of the Cougars six event titles on the day. Arrhenius had a season-best mark of 175-09.50 (53.57) to win the discus and won the shot put with a throw of 52-09.50 (16.09). Joining Arrhenius with event wins were Matt Nielsen in the 200 (21.12), Kish Beverley in the 400 (47.17) and Erik Rasmussen in the pole vault (16-10.75/5.15). The 4x400 provided the final event win for BYU, narrowly missing an NCAA mark with a time of 3:08.53.
Greg Flint was one of two Cougar men with second-place finishes on the day, finishing the 110-meter hurdles in 14.55. Matt Holcomb finished second with a season-best mark 184-10.00 (56.34) in the hammer.
"We had a very good meet for the most part, considering we did not have our distance team," BYU men's head coach Mark Robison said. "A lot of kids performed very well and had personal bests. We are moving in the right direction."
The Cougars will be hosting the BYU Cougar Invitational on Saturday at the BYU Track and Field Stadium. Both teamswill also be sending some athletes to Austin, Texas to compete in the Texas Relays.
For results from the Stanford Invitational, go tohttp://www.fansonly.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/stan/sports/c-track/auto_pdf/weekly-release.