2011 Meet-by-Meet Review

BYU INDOOR INVITATIONAL

In the opening meet of the 2011 season, the BYU women's track and field team started off the season well behind sophomore pole vaulter Rachel Fisher and senior sprinter Porshe Giddings. Fisher dominated the pole vault by clearing 4.00m (13-01.5) and taking first by over four inches. Giddings won the 60m dash in a personal best 7.56, a time that put her fourth all-time in BYU history. The BYU women also took the top four spots in the 800m run, with Stacy Slight leading the way in 2:15.01. 

"We are where we thought we would be at this point," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "We had some good performances today from a number of athletes and will look to improve as the month goes on." 

BENGAL SHOOTOUT 

Senior Porshe Giddings continued her fast start to the season with victories in the 60m and 200m. Giddings topped the personal record she set in the 60m in the opening meet with a time of 7.54. After the win in the 60m, Giddings took the track again to win the 200m in 24.71. Senior Mindy Robins also set a personal record in the meet in winning the 60m hurdles in 8.53 seconds. Robins, a heptathlete, won the event by two-tenths of a second. The Cougars also took the top-four spots in the 800m for the second consecutive meet and were again led by Stacy Slight, this time winning the event in 2:14.17.

"This meet went really well today," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "Porshe (Giddings) ran her races really well and looked good. Assistant coach Corey Murdock has done a great job with our sprinters this season and the performances today showed that." 

CHERRY AND SILVER INVITATIONAL 

At the annual Cherry and Silver Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sophomore Rachel Fisher competed for the first time in two weeks and won the pole vault with a jump of 4.15m (13-7.75). At the time, her mark ranked first in the Mountain West Conference and seventh in the NCAA. Senior Porshe Giddings also continued to run well early in the season and ran the top MWC 200m time, 24.06. 

WASHINGTON INVITATIONAL 

All-American Lacey Bleazard competed in the 800m for the first time in 2011 in Washington and finished second in 2:05.55. She was trailed closely by teammate and fellow All-American Katie Palmer, who took third in 2:05.91. Bleazard and Palmer also competed on the distance medley relay team with Nicole Clark and Natalie Stewart. The team finished second in 11:15.24, just behind an automatic-qualifying Oregon team. 

"I think the 800m was our best event of the meet," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. Lacey (Bleazard) ran very well and Katie Palmer was right there too. This will be a strong event for us moving forward."  

BOISE STATE INVITATIONAL

Senior Porshe Giddings led the sprinters again in Boise while winning the 60m and 200m for the third consecutive meet. Giddings finished the 60m in 7.64 and the 200m in 24.23. Mindy Sagers competed in the pentathlon for the first time in 2011 in Boise and finished with 3573 points, good enough for first. The pole vault was again a strong event for BYU and Rachel Fisher again led the way. Fisher took first with a vault of 4.05m (13-3.50) and freshman Elizabeth Portnova snagged fourth by clearing 3.50m (11-5.75). 

"We keep getting better every week," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "I think this was a good weekend for us and we continue to improve as a team." 

NEW BALANCE INVITATIONAL 

In one of the best overall team performances in BYU women's track and field history, the Cougars took first place at the prestigious New York New Balance Invitational with 90.5 points. It marks the first time a BYU team has come away from the New Balance Invite with a team victory and its also the first time a school from a non-BCS conference has won the meet. In one of the most competitive races of the day, juniors Katie Palmer and Lacey Bleazard took second and fourth, respectively, in the 800m run. The first through fourth place runners were separated by less than a second. Bleazard later anchored the winning 4x800m team with the help of Sarah Edwards, Stacy Slight and Ashlee Thomas. The Cougars did not secure the team victory until the final even of the meet, the 4x400m relay. The team of Porshe Giddings, Natalie Stewart, Bleazard and Palmer managed an eighth place finish, which earned the team one point and the overall victory. 

"We are thrilled that we can represent BYU back in the east against some of the top schools in the country," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "This is a meet that favors a team with depth and balance and we are excited to come out on top. This was a team effort all the way. Everyone contributed to a great win." 

HUSKY CLASSIC

Against the best distance competition in the nation, the BYU women's distance runners held their own at the Husky Classic. Junior Morgan Haws was among the top performeres after finished 12th in the 5000m in 16:14.01, a time that led the Mountain West Conference. Senior Kari Hardt, an Arizona State transfer, represented the Cougars well in the mile by finishing 14th in 4:45.96. All-American Cecily Lew competed in her first track and field race in two years in Washington and placed 38th in the 3000m. 

"We had great performaces in Washington," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "All of our runners but one ran season best times. It was a great day." 

AIR FORCE INVITATIONAL

High jumper Ada Robinson was the top performer at the Air Force Invite after clearing a season and personal best 1.86m (6-1.25) to win the high jump. The mark ranked first in the Mountain West Conference, third in the NCAA and third in BYU history. Also winning events at Air Force were Natalie Stewart in the 400m, Rachel Fisher in the pole vault and Mindy Sagers in the 60m hurdles. The meet was the final tune-up for the MWC Indoor Championships.

"We had great performances today here at Air Force," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "Ada (Robinson) performed very well. We are looking forward to the MWC Championships now and we will take a week off to prepare. We are looking forward to some good competition."  

MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

With a dominant performance on the final day of competition, the BYU women's track and field team took home their third consecutive Mountain West Conference Indoor Championship. The Cougars tallied 181.5 points, or 74.5 more than second place finishing TCU. The championship was BYU's 10th in 12 tries in the MWC. After entering the final day in a close first place, the Cougars pulled away behind the individual championships of Ada Robinson (high jump), Lacey Bleazard (800m) and Katie Palmer (mile). The championship was also the first under first year head coach Patrick Shane, who was awarded the MWC Indoor Coach of the Year award following the conclusion of the meet. 

"We had no letdowns at this meet," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "Everyone that competed for BYU this weekend competed hard and did very well. I am so proud of this entire team. This has been a fun year." 

LAST CHANCE INVITATIONAL

In a surprisingly eventful Last Chance Invitational, sophomore pole vaulter Rachel Fisher broke the BYU indoor pole vault record by clearing 4.26m (13-11.75), a personal and season best mark that now stands alone atop the BYU record book. FIsher broke the record at the Washington Final Qualifier and was accompanied by teammate and fellow pole vaulter Christen Botteron, who cleared a personal best 4.22m (13-10.00) at the meet.

"I was estatic when I saw that I had cleared the bar at 4.26m," Fisher said. "Going into the jump I knew it would qualify me for Nationals and that was the most important thing. Breaking the BYU record was just icing on the cake."  

NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

For the second time in three years, junior Lacey Bleazard took home the indoor 800m National Championship. Bleazard, who also won the 800m NCAA title as a freshman in 2009, was victorious this season as she crossed the line in 2:04.09. After narrowly qualifying for the final round, Bleazard went out hard in the finals and led for the duration of the race. Bleazard became the first BYU women's track athlete to win multiple national titles in the same event since Tiffany Lott-Hogan won the outdoor heptathlon title in 1997 and 1998. Ada Robinson competed well at Nationals alongside Bleazard and finished fifth in the high jump, good enough for All-American honors. With two All-Americans, one National Champion and 14 team points, the Cougars were able to finish 15th as a team.

"It was our plan to have her (Bleazard) go out fast and take the lead early," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "A couple of runners tried to pass her on the final lap but she held them off and had a great finish. I could not be more proud of her. She ran the race perfect." 

AZTEC INVITATIONAL

In the first meet of the outdoor season, the BYU women's track and field team headed to San Diego to compete. The Cougars strongest race in the meet was the 1500m, in which Stacy Slight took first in 4:30.73, Candace Eddy finished second in 4:33.60 and Michaelanne Laurent snagged third in 4:35.06. Junior Katy Andrews also scored a victory at the meet, hers in the 5000m in 16:38.12. The top perfromer in the field events was Elizabeth Wilson, who took third in the long jump with a leap of 5.84m (19-2.00).

"We had some pretty good opening performances," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "We normally train through the first few meets of the outdoor season and don't look for great marks but today went really well."  

STANFORD INVITATIONAL

On windy and rainy day in Palo Alto, the BYU women's track and field team gave their best effort and found some success at the Stanford Invitational. Senior Katie Palmer paced the Cougars with an 800m win in 2:05.11. Lacey Bleazard followed close behind Palmer and took second in 2:05.83. Senior Tipaleli Fotu also took home a victory for the Cougars. Fotu took first in the hammer throw with a toss of 55.95m (183-07), nearly five feet further than the second plcae finisher. 

"We had some great performances today despite the weather," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "Katie (Palmer) ran really well in the 800m and Lacey really paced most of the race. Overall I am pleased with the results based on the conditions."  

TROJAN TRI-MEET

Junior Kelli Ehardt led BYU at the Trojan Tri-Meet in Los Angeles, California with a win in the pole vault. Ehardt cleared 3.92m (12-10.25) to take home the victory. Also finding success in the field events were high jumpers Ada Robinson and Diana Blauer, who took first and second, respectively, in the high jump. Robinson cleared 1.80m (5-10.75) for the win while Blauer leapt 1.75m (5-8.75). Sprinter Porshe Giddings also had her best outdoor meet to this point with strong third place finishes in both the 100m (11.77) and 200m (24.23). Two BYU athletes also won distance events, with Stephanie Jensen winning the 3000m steeplechase in 11:10.96 and Lindsey Sowards winning the 3000m in 10:00.67. 

UVU INVITATIONAL

On the same weekend as the Trojan Tri-Meet, several BYU athletes found success at the first-ever UVU hosted track and field meet. Katy Andrews started the meet off well with a 10:45.88 performance in the 3000m steeplechase, a time good enough for first place. The 4x100m relay team of Fatima Makakala, Porshe Giddings, Arlene Gowar and Mindy Sagers also nabbed a victory in 45.21. The 4x400m team also took home a win in 3:46.35. Lacey Bleazard anchored the team while Nicole Clark, Sarah Edwards and Katie Palmer ran the first three legs en route to the victory. The most dominant event for BYU at the meet was the pole vault, led by Kelli Ehardt's victory. Including Ehardt, the Cougars took the top five spots in the event. Elizabeth Portnova, Shanie Bushman, Diane McAllister and Catherine Ballard rounded out the top five finishers for BYU.  

UTAH INVITATIONAL 

Due to incelment weather the Utah Spring Track and Field Classic was cancelled. The meet was not rescheduled. 

SUN ANGEL CLASSIC 

In one of the most exciting events of the meet, the BYU women's 4x400m relay team took first place in the event in Tempe. Porshe Giddings, Sarah Edwards, Lacey Bleazard and Katie Palmer combined to take the win in 3:43.73. Bleazard also ran in the 800m premier event and took second in a time of 2:05.82. Bleazard finished first overall among college athletes. Palmer also competed in the 800m and finished just behind Bleazard in third. Palmer was also the top collegiate runner in the 1500m, clocking a 4:21.11. In the field events, junior Diana Blauer was the highlight of the meet for BYU with a win in the high jump after clearing 1.75m. 

MT. SAC RELAYS

Senior Cecily Lemmon-Lew led the BYU women at the Mt. SAC Relays with her first place performance in the 10000m. The race was Lemmon-Lew's first 10000m since she took second at the 2009 NCAA Championships in the event. Her 34:14.00 finish time ranked her 23rd in the nation at the time. Katy Andrews also ran well in the 3000m steeplechase. Andrews crossed the finish line in a career best time of 10:12.04, which ranked third in the nation. Lacey Bleazard competed in the 80m run invitational elite section and finished fifth overall but first among college athletes. Bleazard's time of 2:04.78 was a season best. Katie Palmer competed in the 800m Olmypic Development Elite section and finished fourth overall in a season best time of 2:04.47. 

"Mt. SAC has been very good to us this year," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "We had a lot of personal records run in these last few days and some excellent performances. A lot of athletes put themselves in good position for the West Region meet." 

MARK FALDMO INVITATIONAL

While the distance runners competed at the Mt. SAC Relays, the sprinters and jumpers competed at the annual Mark Faldmo Invitational at Utah State. Senior Porshe Giddings had a solid meet with first place finishes in the 200m and 400m. Giddings finished the 200m in 24.06 and crossed the line in 55.01 in the 400m. Ada Robinson and Diana Blauer finished first and second, respectively, in the high jump. Both athletes cleared 1.75m (5-8.75) to take the top two spots. Junior Kelli Ehardt won the pole vault by clearing 3.80m (12-5.50). Another stellar performance came from Tipaleli Fotu, a senior that won the hammer throw by nearly 11 feet with a toss of 55.68m (182-08). 

BYU ROBISON INVITATIONAL

In the first home meet of the season, the BYU women's track and field team battled rainy weather and tough competition on their way to several first place finishes at the annual BYU Robison Invitational. Senior Stacy Slight led the way for the Cougars in the 800m run, an event in which the Cougars nabbed the top five places. Slight finished first in 2:13.09 with Ashlee Thomas a close second in 2:14.60 and Elizabeth Ricks taking third in 2:16.04. Bethanie Kruman and Lisa Olander rounded out the top five. Morgan Haws continued the BYU dominance in the distance events with a win in the 5000m run in 17:11.02, 44 seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Stephanie Jensen also took home a win in a distance event by crossing the line in 11:28.86 in the 3000m steeplechase.  

PENN RELAYS

BYU opened the historic Penn Relays with a fifth place finish in the distance medley relay in 11:07.22. Senior Porshe Giddings ran the second-fastest 400m split in the event, clocking in at 52.59. Competing alongside Giddings in the event were juniors Lacey Bleazard and Katie Palmer, along with senior Kari Hardt. Bleazard and Palmer also competed on the 4x800m team with Sarah Edwards and Nicole Clark. The team combined to finish the race fourth in 8:31.59. The lone individual to compete for BYU at the Penn Relays was Hardt. Hardt finished seventh in the 3000m steeplechase in 10:28.77. 

BYU TWILIGHT MEET

In the final meet of the 2011 outdoor regular season, the BYU women's track and field team finished with 13 event wins and several personal and season best performances. Senior Porshe Giddings used the warm weather to run her best 100m time of the season, winning the event in 11.60, tied for the third-fastest time in BYU history. Giddings won her second race of the day when she took the 200m in 24.09. BYU runners took four of the top five spots in the 1500m, with Candace Eddy leading the way in 4:34.28. Fatima Makakala, a junior, also took home and event win with a personal best 13.59 finish in the 100m hurdles. In the field events, high jumper Ada Robinson cleared a season best 1.81m (5-11.25) to win the event. Kelli Ehardt took the victory in the pole vault by clearing 4.10m (13-5.50), also a season best. Sophomore Amber Freeman ended the day on a high note for the Cougars by winning the javelin with a throw of 44.16m (144-10). 

"We had a lot of great performances today," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "We finally had some warm weather and that helped our sprinters and power people really step up. We had plenty of personal and season bests today." 

MWC OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

With a dominant final day the BYU womens track and field team clinched their third consecutive Mountain West Conference outdoor championship with 191 team points. The win marked the 10th MWC outdoor championship for the women's team in 12 tries. First year head coach Patrick Shane earned MWC Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year honors. Junior Lacey Bleazard highlighted the meet with her third straight MWC outdoor 800m title. The 1500m run featured four BYU runners in the top eight positions, including Katie Palmer, who won the event in 4:28.29. Allyson Wardell also won an individual championship for the Cougars by tossing the javelin 45.89m (150-07). BYU defeated second place New Mexico by 63 points in the meet to finish their reign in the MWC on a high note. 

"We just had a great final day today," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "All of the athletes really performed well and we even had a few personal best performances. It means a lot to win this in our last year in the Mountain West." 

NCAA WEST REGIONAL 

In a loaded NCAA West Region that featured powerhouse teams Texas A&M and Oregon, the BYU women's track and field team performed well and qualified six athletes for the NCAA National Championships. Junior Lacey Bleazard and senior Katie Palmer both moved on to Nationals in the 800m and two rounds of preliminaries. Junior Morgan Haws managed to continue on in the 10000m as well. High jumper Ada Robinson and Diana Blauer both jumped their way into the National Championships for the second consecutive season. The most surprising performance came from sprinter Porshe Giddings, who came into the meet ranked 18th overall but finished 11th to move on. Giddings finished the race in 11.66. 

"It has been great to come here and represent BYU at the NCAA Preliminary," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "We had six total athletes qualify for Nationals and everyone competed very well." 

NCAA OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

On day one of the NCAA National Championships both Lacey Bleazard and Morgan Haws earned Second Team All-America honors for their performances. Bleazard, the 2011 indoor NCAA 800m champion, missed the final race by three spots after finishing 11th overall in 2:05.42. Haws crossed the line in 35:22.40 to place 12th overall after battling dehydration for much of the race. Porshe Giddings became the first BYU women's track athlete to compete at Nationals in the 100m since 1998 and finished 21st overall in 11.80. Junior Ada Robinson joined Bleazard and Haws in earned Second Team All-America honors after finishing ninth in the high jump with a leap of 1.80m (5-10.75). Fellow high jumper Diana Blauer was named an Honorable Mention All-American after finishing 20th overall. 

"Sometimes things just do not go your way and that's how its been for us this weekend," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "We had a lot of young competitors here and they will all be back next season. Even though we didn't score any points this was a great experience for these athletes."