COLORADO SPRINGS -- Despite unfavorable weather conditions, which produced two different delays due to lightning, the Cougars recorded a second-, third- and seventh-place finish in the decathlon to take a six-point lead in the overall team standings of the Mountain West Conference Track & Field Championships.
After two days of competition, the Cougars lead on the men's side with 16 points, followed by New Mexico with 10, Colorado State with 5, Air Force with 4 and Wyoming with 3. In the women's competition, Utah leads with 15 points, followed by San Diego State with 10, New Mexico with 7, Colorado State with 4 and BYU is in fifth place with 3 points.
BYU freshman Devin Howe started day two of the decathlon trailing the leader, Mark Johnson of New Mexico, by just 29 points. Howe held on to second place after turning in a 15.55 in the 110-meter hurdles, but dropped to a 74-point deficit after Johnson crossed the line in 15:16. Johnson then increased his lead with a 121-05 toss in the discuss, stretching his lead to 109 points over Howe, who finished third in the discus with a mark of 115-10. BYU's Matt Weirich finished second in the discus with a mark of 120-08. Christian Morgan of Air Force finished third with a mark of 119-10. Morgan improved upon his personal best by more than 14 feet.
In the pole vault, the eighth event of the decathlon, Weirich moved from fifth place to third after winning the event with a vault of 16-00.75. Howe held on to second place in the competition with a personal-best 11-09.75, picking up 509 points.
Howe, who has been nursing a stress fracture in his foot since April, came on strong in the final two events, winning both the javelin (168-02) and 1,500-meters (4:56.21), while Weirich finished second in the javelin (153-00) and fourth in the 1,500-meters with a time of 5:04.04 to take third place in the decathlon.
"Devin did a great job," BYU head coach Mark Robison said. "Devin has had a stress fracture in his foot since April and hasn't been able to train very much. So, for him to come out here, with that broken bone in his foot, and come in second place, is a tremendous effort."
Johnson won the decathlon with 6,206 points, followed by Howe with 5,996 points and Weirich with a personal-best 5,811 points. BYU's Noah Garfield finished seventh in the competition with 4,745 points after pulling a hamstring early in Thursday's competition.
"He had an incredible second day with five personal-best marks," Robison said. "Considering he has only been training for three weeks in this event, that is truly incredible. He scored more points than anybody today."
Coming into the final event of the heptathlon in seventh place, BYU's Jennifer Rockwell had a time of 2:24.02 in the 800-meters to score 770 points and surpass Noelle Pikus of Utah to finish sixth overall.
San Diego State's Leslie Miller won the heptathlon with 5,292 points and Utah's Erianne Allen was second with 5,159. Rockwell scored three points for the Cougars, putting the team in fifth after the second day of competition.