Rena Chesser finished as the top collegiate runner in the 3000M steeplechase. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
EUGENE -- The track distance team came out of the Oregon Invitational with some of the year's top marks on Saturday even despite all the elements being against them.
"Eugene can be a great place to run a distance event because it's cool and at sea level," said women's distance coach Patrick Shane. "Unfortunately it was very windy and some our performances were hurt by the wind. Without it, we would've been able to achieve NCAA regional ranks."
In the 3000M steeplechase Rena Chesser and Amy Fowler were the first two collegiate runners to finish with personal best times of 10:17.49 and 10:17.71, respectively. They finished behind professional runners Carrie Messner who competed in the World Championships, Kelly Strong and Brianna Dahm.
Chesser and Fowler's times put them second and third in the nation in the 3000M steeplechase.
"Both of these ladies went out and raced well," said Shane. "I am thrilled with their races. This was Amy's breakthrough performance as a true freshman and only in her second-ever steeplechase."
Because of the nature of the steeplechase, Chesser and Fowler will not run the event until Mountain West Conference Championships.
Jocelyn Gardner ran the 5000M for the first time in her college career and finished on top for the Cougars in the event, finishing 13th overall with a time of 17:08.59, a personal best.
Gardner was followed by Jenna Taylor in 16th with a time of 17:30.37 and Sarah Hansen in 21st with a time of 18:00.65.
Chelsea McKell finished fifth in the 10,000M with a time of 34.23.05, two minutes ahead of everyone in the Mountain West Conference. McKell just missed the automatic NCAA time of 33:55.00, but easily achieved the NCAA provisional mark and finished second out of the collegiate runners being Indiana's Erin Nehus with a time of 33:57.92.
Michelle Lindsay finished 14th in the 1500M run with a time of 4:29.36, two seconds off her best.
On the men's side, four personal bests were achieved.
"The weather conditions were not ideal by any stretch," said men's distance coach Ed Eyestone. "Although it was a good opportunity for the guys to run in challenging weather because who knows how the weather will be at conference championships and the NCAA's."
Tyrel Jensen finished out on top for BYU in the 1500M with a time of 3:48.80, followed by Kyle Perry in 14th place with a time of 3:49.97 and Dustin Bybee placed 15th with a time of 3:50.11, a personal best.
"Tyrel got the biggest woo of the meet when he was 60 or 70 meters behind the guy in front of him and closed the gap to two meters at the end," said Eyestone. "He would've gotten a better time if he were in a faster heat."
Miles Batty finished ninth in the 5000M with a time of 14:25.41, a personal best and the top time in the Mountain West Conference.
Josh McAdams finished higher than any other Cougar in the 3000M steeplechase, placing third overall, and the top collegiate runner in the event with a time of 8:45.52. Chandler Goodwin finished fifth in the same event with a time of 8:57.25.
Warren Davis finished fifth in his section of the 3000M steeplechase with a time of 9:21.09, the fifth fastest Cougar time of the season and his first time running the event.
Nick McCombs finished 17th in the 10,000M run with a personal-best time of 30:45.39, his first time running the event this season.
The BYU Track and Field team will travel back home for the Robison Invitational April 26-29.