Sun Shines on Victorious Cougar Track Stars

Rodrigo Mendes was one of 17 Cougars to earn individual victories at the Cougar Invitational. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- After a week of rain and snow, the weather couldn't have been much better for the Cougar Invitational on Friday, during which the BYU track team won 17 events and earned more than a dozen regional qualifying marks.

Men's track coach Mark Robison said he was really pleased with the team's efforts during the home meet.

"We had an incredible meet," Robison said. "I couldn't be happier. Everything that needed to happen, happened."

The men's middle distance team took five of the top-10 spots in the 800 meters. Led by All-American Nathan Robison and Bryan Lindsay, who finished third and fourth in less than 1:51.00. Robison's time of 1:50.14 was just good enough for a regional qualifying mark. Dustin Trail placed sixth, James Heiner ninth and Andrew Martin 10th, all in under 1:55.00.

On the women's side, Allison Passey placed third and Lorette Hanson placed 10th.

Women's coach Craig Poole said he his team is right where it should be.

"We gave a lot of kids an opportunity to compete," Poole said. "And they performed well. I'm very pleased."

The men's team continued to dominate the hurdles competition.

Cougars took four of the top-5 spots in the 400-meter hurdles. Garlick won his second event of the day when he crossed the line in 51.10 to better his regional qualifying mark. Teammate Ben Gardner placed second in 51.38, improving his regional qualifying mark as well.

Bryan Payne, who placed fourth, also received a qualifying mark with at time of 52.45. Kansas Whitear finished fifth (52.83).

Jake Garlick won the 110-meter hurdles in a season-best 14.12, to better his regional qualifying mark. Ben Gardner placed fifth with his season-best, 14.65. Freshmen Bryan Payne placed seventh (14.88) and sophomore Chris Weirich placed ninth (15.65).

Menlove finished second in the 100-meter hurdles to Wyoming All-American Shauna Smith. Menlove crossed the line in 13.64.

Teammates Taylor Law and Sommer both finished in the top-10 of the event. Law placed sixth (14.81), as Sommer placed 10th with a season-best time of 15.06. Other Cougars in the event include Berendsen (15.08), Andersen (15.18) and Nevitt (15.31).

Law also placed second in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing behind All-American Shauna Smith of Wyoming.

The women's pole vault squad finished one through four in the competition with freshman Julene Kaufusi, earning the victory. Makenzie Hobbs placed second. Both athletes cleared 12 feet 5.5 inches. Mandy Kelly finished third (11-11.75) and Melissa Dyer placed fourth (11-5.75).

Trent Powell won the men's pole vault with a lifetime best vault of 18 feet half an inch. Teammates Robbie Pratt and Chris Weirich placed second and third. Powell's mark easily qualifies him for regional competition.

Robison said Powell's vault was something Powell had been looking forward to his whole life.

David Chesser won the men's 400 meters in 47.76, while Kevin Biesenger placed sixth (48.99), Scott Adams eighth (49.47) and Jason Dorais ninth (49.62).

Laura Hales and Jessica Weirich both competed in the women's 100 meters. Hales placed sixth in12.43, while Weirich crossed the line in a season-best 12.61. Men's sprinter Cody Fonnesbeck finished fourth in 10.86, a season-best mark.

Both the men's and women's teams won the 4x400 meter relay. The men's team received a regional qualifying mark of 3:09.33.

David Pendergrass won the high jump with a regional qualifying mark of 7 feet 0.75 inches. He improved the mark he received last week at the ASU Invitational. Teammate Bryce Bergen placed second, finishing right behind Pendergrass. Bergen cleared 6 feet 6.75 inches.

Also competing in the high jump were Jon Willison and Gabe Casdorph. Both cleared 6 feet 2.75 inches to finish 11th and 13th respectively.

Both the men's and women's teams faired well in the distance races.

Freshman Chandler Goodwin, who qualified regionally last week in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, won the event in 9:16.29. Dustin Bybee finished third in 9:27.23, with Derek Taylor and David Weiler placing fifth and sixth respectively.

The women were strong in the 1,500 meters. Orem native Ann Marie Thomas won the event with a time of 4:34.62. Senior Anne Heiner was hot on the trail of Thomas, placing second with a time of 4:34.97. Amber Duffin finished seventh (4:53.58).

The men's team as did well in the 1,500 meters. Brett Andrus won the race in a season-best 3:55.79. Nathan Ogden placed third at 3:59.16, while Tanner Bushnell ran the race in 4:06.82 to place 13th.

In the women's 5,000 meters, Lisa Frischknecht placed sixth and teammate Jenna Taylor placed 12th.

Rodrigo Mendes won the men's triple jump in spectacular fashion. After not practicing for a while because of a foot injury, Mendes set the best mark in the nation so far this season. Robison said Mendes might just break BYU's triple jump record this year, the oldest men's track record.

The women's jump squad also performed well at the meet.

In her first meet since competing at indoor nationals, All-American Amy Menlove won the long jump competition. Menlove leapt 19 feet 7.5 inches. Senior Lindsey Sommer placed fourth with her season-best jump of 18 feet 2.5 inches. Multi-event star Liis Berendsen cleared 17 feet 7.75 inches to finish seventh.

Nicole Nevitt, Julie Andersen and Sarah Lacey also competed in the event, finishing 14th, 16th and 18th place respectively.

Matt Andersen won the men's long with a leap of 23 feet 4.75 inches.

Kamila Rywelska won the triple jump competition with a regional qualifying mark of 40 feet 8.75 inches. Sommer leapt 38 feet 8.75 inches, placing third.

All-American high jumper Lindsey Metcalf continued her winning ways by taking the title in the high jump, clearing 5 feet 7.75 inches. Teammate Kristin Hirst placed third.

The women's sprint team swept third through sixth place in the 400 meters. Aneta Lemeisz finished third at 55.82, Challis Firl placed fourth (56.60), All-American Heidi Magill placed fifth (56.79) and Michelle Lindsay placed sixth (57.99).

The women's throw squad led by Maret Komarova had two top-10 finishes in the shot put. Komarova placed second with a toss of 45 feet 5.25 inches, with Provo native Leli Fotu finishing eighth (38-0.25).

Fotu placed third in the hammer throw with a toss of 174 feet 4 inches and eighth in the discus. Chelsea Forsythe placed eighth in the hammer with a season-best throw of 149 feet 10.5 inches and 11th in the discus.

The men's throw squad led by the Arrhenius brothers finished the meet strong. Leif Arrhenius placed sixth in the hammer throw. Adams Pyne placed 12th in the hammer, while Randy Patterson finished seventh in the shot put with a throw of 49 feet 0.25 inches.

Leif finished right behind brother Nik in the discus throw. Nik placed second with a toss of 175 feet 4 inches, about a foot and a half further than Leif. Pyne finished eighth.

The javelin team took three spots in the top-10. Kevin Keys placed third with a toss of 181 feet 4 inches. Devan Howe placed eighth as Chris Weirich placed ninth. Tiffany Arrhenius placed second in the women's javelin with a throw of 145 feet 2 inches. Komarova, Lindsey Ford and Berendsen placed 12th, 13th and 14th.

Cougar sprinters took home top spots in the 200 meters. Menlove finished second, while her counterparts on the men's team did well also. Fonnesbeck placed fourth and Kevin Biesenger placed eighth.

Tags: Results