TEMPE -- In the second week of the outdoor season, the BYU men's and women's track teams got their first taste of big meet competition, as they raced against some of the country's top athletes in the field of 16 teams at Arizona State's Baldy Castillo Invitational. Cougar athletes recorded a total of 18 top-five finishes in 13 different events.
"The meet went well for us," said men's coach Mark Robison. "I was very pleased with quite a few of our performances today."
Robinson particularly noted an outstanding performance on the part of sophomore sprinter Matt Nielsen, who set personal records in several events. Nielsen opened Saturday's running events as a member of BYU's 2nd-place 4x100-meter relay team. Together with Thobias Akwenye, Slade Combs and Kenneth Andam, the team recorded an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 39.96 seconds in the event. Nielsen followed up his relay performance with a personal best of 46.71 in the 400 meters, good for a 4th-place finish. He also set a personal best in the 200m (21.46). In the 1500 meters, senior Dula Parkinson recorded a time of 3:50.91 for a 2nd-place finish, and teammate Lewis Jones finished in 4th at 3:51.81. BYU also placed two athletes in the top five in the pole vault competition, as sophomore Jeremy Kemp cleared the bar at 5.00 meters for 3rd place, and senior Jeff Hansen cleared 4.85m to finish in 5th place.
Meanwhile, women's coach Craig Poole also saw several good signs in just the second meet of the outdoor season.
"We are showing improvement in all directions," Poole said. "Everyone is moving in the right direction. As a team we are starting to gel together and everyone is helping each other to succeed. The season is looking very good."
The BYU distance team turned in another strong performance, taking the top three spots and five of the top seven positions in the 3,000 meters. Freshman Nan Evans won the race in a time of 9:49.26, followed closely by teammates Sherida Rogers (9:52.27) and Katie Martin (10:02.43). Kristen Edwards (10:13.85) and Katie Moon (10:22.07) finished in 6th and 7th, respectively. Junior Holly Haguewood finished 2nd in the 800m (2:10.12) and 3rd in the 400-meter hurdles (59.4h). In the field events, senior All-American Jeana Bingham cleared the NCAA automatic qualifying standard of 1.85m in the high jump to take 2nd place in the event.
The Cougars will split their team for next weekend's meets. Many of the distance runners will travel to Palo Alto, Calif. to compete in the Stanford Invitational. The rest of the team will be in Los Angeles competing in the UCLA Invitational.
For complete results of the ASU meet, go to www.thesundevils.com