Randall narrowly missed a first place finish on the 3-meter board (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Feb. 25,2005) -- The men continue to trail UNLV while the women have been able to maintain their lead over the Rebels after day three of the Mountain West Conference Championships. The gamble of fielding all swimmers and no divers has paid off for the men of UNLV who have a lead of 571 to the Cougar's 496. The women maintained the lead on day three and are in good position for an outright championship with a spread of 477 to 463.50 over Rebels.
The men have swam well in the morning thus far in the competition to secure spots in the finals held in the evening. Day three of the championships did not play to the Cougar's strengths in the 400 IM, but the men did qualify three in both the 100 breast and 100 fly.
The final of the 100 fly included six NCAA provisional qualifying times from the eight swimmers involved. Jorge Azevedo led the way for the Cougars, posting a second place finish with a time of 48.07. Fellow teammates Kenny Carpenter and John Malfatt followed in third and seventh with times of 48.21 (NCAA B time) and 49.50.
In the second Cougar heavy final of the evening, BYU's Nicholas Tobler, Adam Ware and Benjamin McKee came in fourth, seventh and eighth in the 100 breast. The threesome turned in times of 55.17 (an NCAA B time for Tobler), 56.29 and 57.06.
The meet for the men has turned into a two team competition between the Cougars and Rebels with the absence of swimmers to challenge BYU and UNLV in the finals from fellow MWC schools Wyoming, Air Force Academy and regular season co-champion Utah.
BYU's Scott Randall narrowly missed out on first place in the 3-meter springboard competition by three points dropping the senior to second place. The Cougars garnered some other much needed points from freshmen divers Ron Morris and Bryce Engstrom who dove to a fifth and eighth place finish.
The men struggled to capture above a fifth place finish in the remaining events of the evening. Sophomores Mark Chay and Brett Allen clocked in with times of 1:39.86 and 1:40.45 in the 200 free for a fifth and seventh place finish.
Chay also competed in the 100 back, four events later, and finished seventh with a time of 51.87. Teammate James Bekker finished slightly ahead of Chay in the event in sixth place, posting a time of 50.78.
The final event of the evening for the men also proved to be one of the fastest. Four of the five teams competing in the 400 medley relay set NCAA provisional qualifying times when UNLV placed first with a time of 3:13.92 and BYU in fourth at 3:16.52.
For the second night in a row the women seemed to fair a little better than their male counterparts. Despite the youth and inexperience on the team the women have maintained their slight lead over the Rebels.
The biggest surprise of the night for the Cougars was Utah's Alison McInturff out touching Cougar Brittany Davis to the wall in the 200 free. Davis turned in a time of 1:49.94 only a second behind McInturff's 1:48.42. Freshman U-nice Chan also competed in the finals of the event finishing in eighth place with a time of 1:53.67.
Senior Melanie Grant ended her BYU career on a high note with a first place finish in the 100 breast. Teammate and freshman Jamie Bloom, who had posted the best time in the MWC conference during the regular season, placed eighth in the same event. The twosome posted times of 1:03.91 and 1:05.36.
The other freshmen on the team also came up with quality points for the Cougars. Tara Bradshaw picked up a third place finish in the 400 IM (4:27.12) and Angela Goodson placed fifth in the 100 fly (57.13).
The Cougars also benefited from the performances of the upper classmen. Senior Carolyn Wigginton placed second in the 100 back and teammate Natasha Schlup placing sixth with times of 56.42 and 57.76. Heidi Lietz-McMillan finished right behind Goodson in the 100 fly in the sixth spot with a time of 57.23.
The women placed second in the final event of the evening with a time of 3:46.89 in the 400-medley relay.
The women will look to hold off the Rebels while the men will hope to make up ground on UNLV on the final day of competition being held Saturday. No other team has won the conference championships other than BYU since the inception of the Conference. The streak for the Cougars stand at five straight and a sixth will hang in the balance tomorrow in the pools of Oklahoma City.