Track Opens Season with Solid Start

All-American Amy Menlove placed first in the pentathlon at the BYU Cougar Invitational. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The first day of the indoor track season was the best in recent memory for the BYU men’s and women’s teams as they competed at home in the Cougar Indoor Invitational.

Athletes from BYU, University of Utah, Utah Valley, Weber State and Southern Utah competed in various events filling the Smith Fieldhouse, all eager to see where their opening marks would place them early this season.

“I thought we did great,” said BYU women’s track head coach Craig Poole. “It was one of the best opening days we’ve had in a few years. There is room for improvement, but I think the BYU track community has a lot to look forward to this season.”

With several top finishes on the opening day, Cougar fans have reason to believe this year will be special. Junior All-American Amy Menlove led the way for the Cougars taking first in the pentathlon (4,048 pts), while fellow BYU All-American Mindy Neeley-McClurkin finished second (3,823 pts), closely followed by teammate Mindy Robins in third place (3,324 pts).

“I thought we did really well today,” said Menlove. “I was a little nervous at the beginning because it was the first meet of the year, but I’m very happy with my results.”

The women’s track success continued with sophomore Deezba Whaley, who placed first in the weight throw with a career-best distance of 57-0.25. Utah rounded out the top three in the weight throw with second- and third-place finishes.

And while the BYU women’s team had a strong showing, the Cougar men competed at an equally high level.

“The key in this sport is to just get a little better each time,” said BYU men’s track head coach Mark Robison. “It’s important to just get going and then each week have incremental changes.”

For some Cougars on the men’s team these changes will place them at new heights and distances they have never before reached.

Such individuals include junior All-American Leif Arrhenius, who surpassed his past marks in the shot put and weight throw. He placed first in both events, with a distance of 65-07.50 in the weight throw and 60-02.50 in the shot put, giving him a new personal best.

Daniel Lawson was second in the shot put with a distance of 56-07.25; Oliver Whaley was second in the weight throw with a distance of 53-07.0.

The Cougars also performed well in the pole vault as seniors Robert Low, Brad Ellertson and Whitney Neeves swept the top three spots. Low had the best vault of the night clearing a height of 17-00.75, followed by Ellertson and Neeves in third.

In the heptathlon, Philip Bettis, Meelis Kosk and Brett Birkland swept the top three spots with a score of 2,980 points for Bettis, 2,925 points for Kosk and 2,637 points for Birkland.

The Cougar Invitational will continue tomorrow in the Smith Fieldhouse with the first event starting at 10 a.m. MST and is expected to finish at 4:30 p.m. MST with the men’s 4 x 1 lap relay.

BYU Cougar Invitational 

Saturday, January 10

Men’s Heptathlon (2nd Day)

10:00 – 60mH

10:35 – PV

12:30 – 1000m

Field Events

12:00 – Triple Jump (W)

1:00 – Pole Vault (W)

1:00 – High Jump (M)

2:00 – Triple Jump (M)

2:30 – High Jump (W)

(Running start times tentative.

We will go ahead of schedule if possible)

Running Events

12:45 – 60mH Trials (M)

1:05 – 60mH Trials (W)

1:25 – 60m Trials (M)

1:35 – 60m Trials (W)

1:50 – Mile (M)

2:00 – Mile (W)

2:10 – 60mH Finals (M)

2:20 – 60mH Finals (W)

2:30 – 60m Finals (M)

2:35 – 60m Finals (W)

2:40 – 400m (M)

2:50 – 400m (W)

3:05 – 800m (M)

3:15 – 800m (W)

3:25 – 300m (M)

3:35 – 300m (W)

3:55 – 3000m (M)

4:10 – 3000m (W)

4:20 – 4 x 1 Lap Relay (M)

4:30 – 4 x 1 Lap Relay (W)