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NAMPA -- Facing stiffer competition, the BYU men's and women's track and field teams rose to the challenge at the BodyBuilding.Com Invite at the Idaho Sports Center on Saturday. In the non-team scoring meet, BYU competed against Arizona State, the University of Oregon, UTEP, Cal State LA and Boise State.
Highlights for the men's team were triple jumper Aron Szmuda and shot putter Daniel Arrhenius. Szmuda posted the longest jump this season for BYU and the Mountain West Conference with his leap of 48-11 (14.91m) in the triple jump and placed second in the long jump. Arrhenius also set a best mark for the Cougars with a throw of 55-00 (16.76m) in the shot put. BYU dominated the 800m, finishing first and second. Chad Simkins won the event in 1:52.98, and Jeff Taylor finished a close second in 1:53.93.
Although the men's team didn't take most of the distance runners, head coach Mark Robison felt the team performed well and is constantly improving.
Robison said, "We're improving, but the key from here on out will be to stay healthy."
The women's track and field team showed its strength in the distance events, taking second in the 800m and winning the mile and the 3,000m. Jamie Cottle placed second in both the 800m (2:15.18) and the mile (4:48.57). Running in her first meet of the season, Michaela Mannova won the mile run with a provisional qualifying time of 4:46.55. Katie Martin led BYU to a victory in the 3,000m, finishing in 9:32.01 and provisionally qualifying for nationals. In the mile and the 3,000m, BYU had six runners finish in the top nine. The women's distance medley team also provisionally qualified for nationals with a time of 11:35.47.
In the field events, Stephanie Bodhaine, Jessica Taylor and Candace Clifford all tied for third place in the high jump, with a height of 5-05 (1.65m). Lindsey Sommer placed third in the triple jump (38-08.75), and Malita Bingham placed third in the weight throw (53-03.5).
Both the men's and women's track teams will return to Idaho next week for the Mountain States Games February 7 in Pocatello.