The BYU women's track team won the New Balance Invitational for the first time in team history. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
NEW YORK -- In one of the best team performances in team history, the BYU women’s track and field team took first place at the prestigious New Balance Invitational with 90.5 points.
“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 really excited to come out on top.”
One of the most competitive races of the day was the 800-meters, featuring two Cougar runners. Junior Katie Palmer took second in the race in 2:06.20 and All-American Lacey Cramer crossed the line in 2:06.66 to take fourth. The top four runners battled throughout and were separated by less than a second.
“The 800m was a tough race,” Shane said. “There was a lot of bumping and shoving, and a few athletes fell and had to be hurdled over. It was close all the way and either one of our BYU runners could have won it.”
Bleazard also anchored the BYU 4x800m relay to a key victory in 8:53.02. Sarah Edwards, Stacy Slight and Ashlee Thomas accompanied Bleazard on the relay, which finished over five seconds ahead of the second place team.
The Cougars also garnered team points in the high jump with solid performances by juniors Ada Robinson and Diana Blauer. Robinson took second in the event by clearing a season high 1.80m and Blauer nabbed fifth by clearing 1.75m.
In the sprint events Porshe Giddings, Aubrey Hale, Arelene Gowar and Fatima Makakala combined to take fourth in the 4x200m relay with a time of 1:40.51.
Kari Hardt and Michaelanne Laurent helped the team effort in the one mile run by scoring five total points. Hardt took fifth in 4:46.68 and Laurent finished eighth in 4:50.09.
The Cougars did not secure the team victory until the final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay. Entering the race with a slim lead, the Cougar relay team of Giddings, Natalie Stewart, Bleazard and Palmer finished eighth in 3:41.29, scoring one team point and finalizing the team win.
“This was a team effort all the way,” Shane said. “I am really proud of the young women on our team and am thankful to have such a great coaching staff. Everyone contributed to this great win.”
BYU will be back in action at the Air Force Invitational and Husky Classic on February 11 and 12. Following those meets the team will have a weekend off before competing in the MWC Indoor Championships.