LARAMIE -- Several top times and marks kept the BYU women’s track team in first place going into the final day of competition at the Mountain West Conference Track and Field Championships.
“We’re being tenacious and qualifying where we need to,” said BYU women’s track and field head coach Craig Poole. “We have positioned ourselves very well going into tomorrow’s finals.”
The No. 10 nationally ranked Cougars sit in first place with 64 points, while Colorado State follows with 53 points and New Mexico in third with 34.5 points.
Leading the way for BYU was Cecily Lemmon, who won the 10,000-meter event in a time of 37:27.71. Lemmon’s time was over three seconds faster than Michelle Corrigan of New Mexico, giving BYU 10 points in the event.
“Cecily ran a very tactical race,” said BYU women’s distance coach Patrick Shane. “She did what she had to do to win. We’re at 7,200 feet and Cecily runs again tomorrow in the 5,000-meter event, so we wanted to save her.”
Kari McAllister-Clark added to the Cougar success with an impressive second-place finish in the pole vault event. McAllister-Clark’s regional qualifying mark of 12-07.50 earned BYU eight points.
All-American runner Amy Layne wrapped up her MWC career with a third-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (11:34.89).
“We have competed well,” Poole said. “This has been a good meet so far and Wyoming has done a fantastic job. The only dampener has been the weather, which has been a challenge for us and everyone else. We have to stay focused and continue to hit our marks.”
All-American long jumpers Mindy Neeley-McClurkin and Amy Menlove hit their marks, securing BYU with 14 more points.
Neeley-McClurkin took second in the event with a regional qualifying jump of 20-09.25, while Menlove earned third with a regional qualifying jump of 20-02.50.
Less than an hour later, Menlove was back on the track for the 100-meter hurdles where she took fourth. Menlove’s regional qualifying time of 13.77 advances her to Saturday’s finals.
Also advancing to the finals in the 100-meter event was Neeley-McClurkin, who took third with a regional qualifying time of 11.66. Neeley-McClurkin’s time is a personal best, ranking fourth on BYU’s all-time list for the event.
The junior also earned third place in the 200-meter dash (24.24), qualifying her for the finals.
Lacey Cramer, the 2009 800-meter Indoor National Champion, qualified for Saturday’s finals in both the 800- and 1,500-meter events. Cramer finished first in both events with a time of 2:14.82 and 5:00.68, respectively.
Qualifying in the same events was All-American runner Katie Palmer, who took first in the first heat of the 1,500-meter with a time of 5:03.10, and second in the second heat of the 800-meter event (2:23.45).
Sarah Edwards followed suit, qualifying in both the 800- and 1,500-meter events. Sarah Yingling qualified for the finals with a second-place finish in the 800-meter event (2:15.14).
Earning another NCAA regional-qualifying mark for the Cougars was Diane Stewart, who’s third-place time of 60.47 in the 400-meter hurdles qualifies her for tomorrow’s finals.
Stewart’s sisters Nachelle and Natalie had similar success as both earned spots in the 400-meter dash final.
BYU will begin Saturday’s finals at 12 p.m. MT with the women’s shot put event.
For complete results go to http://www.themwc.com/sports/c-track/stats/2008-2009/09-outdoor-women1.html.