Three Cougars advance to the final round of the NCAA National Championships after day one. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
FAYETTEVILLE -- Three athletes from the BYU men’s track and field team advanced to the final round of their events at the NCAA National Championships Wednesday.
“Today’s been a great day,” said BYU men’s track and field head coach Mark Robison. “Other than Meelis [Kosk] still being sick, things have panned out about how we hoped they would. All of our athletes performed well. I’m very impressed with what we’ve accomplished, and I look forward to the rest of the competition.”
Fueling two dynamic performances in the 3000 meter steeplechase, senior All-American Kyle Perry, ranked No. 4 going into the competition, and junior Richard Nelson, ranked No. 15, each won his individual heat with personal best times.
Perry’s first-place time of 8:37.05 landed him the No.1 spot overall and his ticket to the final round.
“I’m happy I was able to make my final comfortably,” said Perry. “I’m glad I could have success with my teammate. We have very high hopes for this weekend, and it is fun to have a good friend there winning with me.”
Alongside Perry, Nelson’s time of 8:41.85 earned him fifth overall, automatically advancing him to the finals as well. The final round will be held Friday at 6:40 p.m. CT.
“I felt in control throughout the entire race,” said Nelson. “Now I’m excited for the final round Friday."
Entering the pole vault ranked sixth nationally, senior Bob Low competed in flight two of the preliminary rounds. After a seven-way tie at 5.25 meters (17 feet 2.5 inches) for his flight, Low qualified for the finals in a five-way tie overall for sixth place. The final round of the pole vault competition will resume Friday at 3:45 p.m. CT.
“Today was great,” said Low. “We had a plan to come in and clear the one bar that counted. Everything fell into place. I did the best I could and it was just enough. I am very excited for the final round and will just go out and do my best.”
Representing BYU in the javelin throw, sophomore Blaine Baker pushed through his flight tallying a top-20 finish. With a final distance of 63.69 meters (208 feet 11 inches), Baker finished 18th.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, sophomore decathlete Meelis Kosk pulled out of the competition due to injury. Kosk competed in the 100 meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump before removing himself from the 400 meter dash. He will not compete in the remaining events scheduled to resume Thursday.
Events for the Cougars resume Thursday with the 4x400 meter relay and the 10,000 meter run. The relay is scheduled to begin 8:40 p.m. CT while the 10,000 meter run will begin 9:45 p.m. CT.
For full results of the NCAA National Championships go to http://www.flashresults.com/2009_Meets/outdoor/NCAA/
Cougars Competing at Nationals
Name Event Schedule/Results
Meelis Kosk Decathlon Pulled out due to injury
Bob Low Pole Vault Advanced to finals, Fri. at 3:45 p.m.
Blaine Baker Javelin Finished 18th
Kyle Perry 3000m Steeplechase Advanced to finals, Fri. at 6:40 p.m.
Richard Nelson 3000m Steeplechase Advanced to finals, Fri. at 6:40 p.m.
McKade Brady 4x400m relay Thurs., 8:40 p.m.
Rhyan Atrice 4x400m relay Thurs., 8:40 p.m.
Rob Skidmore 4x400m relay Thurs., 8:40 p.m.
Kevin Biesinger 4x400m relay Thurs., 8:40 p.m.
Stephan Shay 10000m Thurs., 9:45 p.m.
* All Times Central