Men, Women Claim MWC Track Titles

Senior Niklas Arrhenius set a Mountain West Conference Championship Meet record with a throw of 203-02 to win the men's discus championship. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SAN DIEGO -- The BYU men's and women's track & field teams claimed 10 individual event championship and took advantage of depth in several events to win both the men's and women's team titles at the 2007 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday.

Both BYU head women's and men's coaches, Craig Poole and Mark Robison, earned Mountain West Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors, while senior Niklas Arrhenius and sophomore Whitney McDonald earned Top Performance-of-the-Meet honors. Arrhenius set the MWC Championship meet record in the discus while McDonald crushed the old meet record in the 5,000 meters by nearly 34 seconds.

"I'm just very pleased with effort," BYU head men's track coach Mark Robison said. "Overall it was a great team effort. We had some surprises and some disappointments, but that's the nature of track. When you have a team depth like we've had this year, you can have some disappointments and still come out on top."

The championship marks the 25th outdoor title for the men's team and includes seven straight Mountain West Conference titles. The weekend victory also marks the 26th outdoor league title for the women's team, including their sixth MWC outdoor championship.

"I think it's interesting that our 25th championship comes the year after dad's passing," Robison said of his father and legendary BYU track coach Clarence Robison. "He was our biggest fan. He would call after every meet to see how we did. I have to admit, it's been a little lonely this year with out him around. It's been really different, but I'm sure he's up there smiling down on us."

In the men's competition, the Cougars totaled 214 points to win the team championship while Colorado State finished second with 166 points, followed by Air Force in third with 146 points and TCU in fourth with 123 points. Wyoming finished fifth with 88 points and New Mexico finished sixth with 75 points.

In the women's team competition, BYU racked up 195 points to win the team title, followed by TCU in second with 152 points. San Diego State finished third with 128 points, Colorado State finished fourth with 119 points, New Mexico took fifth with 68 points and Utah finished sixth with 49.5 points. Air Force finished seventh with 47.5 points, Wyoming took eighth with 42 points and UNLV finished ninth with 18 points.

"We're just very pleased with how everyone came together," women's head coach Craig Poole said. "We try to take it one individual at a time, one event at a time. We try to get the athletes to understand their potential and go out and perform the way they've been trained to do. If they'll do that, the winning takes care of itself. This becomes a team effort when individually, everyone comes together."

MEN'S 4X100-METER RELAY

In the first running event of the day, the foursome of Justin Palmer, Jacob Garlick, Nate Rencher and Lance Walker took fourth in the 4x100-meter relay to pick up five team points. TCU won the event with an NCAA Regional qualifying mark of 40.39. Through eight events, the Cougars held a nine point lead over Colorado State in the men's team standings.

WOMEN'S 4X100-METER RELAY

Kathryn Beck, Jennifer Grossarth, Mindy Neeley and Kelly Furr turned in a time of 47.06 to take sixth place in the women's 4x100-meter relay. TCU ran away with the event, crossing the line with a regional qualifying time of 44.49. After picking up three points in the event, the Cougars held a 104-70 lead over second-place Colorado State.

MEN'S 1500 METERS

Junior Chandler Goodwin made his move with just over 100 meters remaining, passing as many as four runners in the men's 1,500 meters down the home stretch, including defending champion Festus Kigen from TCU and teammate Tyrel Jensen. Goodwin won the MWC 1,500-meter Championship with a time of 3:49.95 and Jensen held on for a second-place finish with a time of 3:50.80. Freshman Jacob Cosby finished eighth with a time of 3:53.62 to pick up points in the team scoring. The Cougars scored 19 points in the event to take a 93-69 lead over second-place Colorado State through nine events.

WOMEN'S 1500 METERS

Sophomore Heidi Magill looked as though she would run away with the event, leading for nearly 1,400 of the 1,500 meters. UNLV freshman Charlotte Browning caught up to Magill with just over 100 meters left and pulled away to win the event in an NCAA qualifying time of 4:24.16. Magill held on for second place with a qualifying time of 4:26.66. Teammate Julie Meads finished fourth in a qualifying time of 4:27.68. The Cougars scored 13 points, extending its lead to 117-81 over second-place Colorado State.

MEN'S DISCUSS

Senior Niklas Arrhenius set a Mountain West Conference Championship Meet record with a throw of 203-02 to win the men's discus championship. Freshman Daniel Lawson finished fifth with a distance of 160-06 and sophomore Dustin Lawrensen finished sixth with a mark of 168-02. With three athletes in the scoring, the Cougars picked up 17 points in the event; however, Colorado State also earned 17 points with four athletes in the top-eight of the event. The Cougars maintained a 110-86 lead over the Rams through 10 events.

MEN'S 110-METER HURDLES

Senior Nate Rencher defended his championship in the 110-meter hurdles, edging Air Force's Kellen Curry by .05 seconds. Rencher turned in a season-best time of 14.18, beating his winning time from last season with just one-hundredth of a second. Senior teammate Jacob Garlick finished fourth with a time of 14.49 while teammate Justin Palmer finished fifth with a time of 14.94. After scoring 19 points in the event, the Cougars extended its lead to 34 points over Colorado State. Through 11 events, BYU held a 129-95 lead over the Rams.

WOMEN'S 100-METER HURDLES

Senior Jennifer Grossarth finished sixth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.24 while teammate Kelly Furr finished eighth with a time of 14.51 in the event. TCU's Kishelle Paul turned in an NCAA Regional qualifying time of 13.71 to win her second straight MWC 100-meter hurdle championship. The Cougars scored four points in the event to maintain a 121-89 advantage over second-place Colorado State through 11 events.

MEN'S 400 METERS

Battling a sore foot, sophomore Chris Carter turned in a fifth-place performance in the 400 meters with a time of 47.91. In a fast field, the top-three finishers completed the race with regional qualifying marks. Jarrin Solomon from New Mexico won the event with a time of 46.50. With two athletes picking up points in the event, Colorado State cut into BYU's lead in the team standings; however, through 12 events, the Cougars held a 133-105 lead.

MEN'S TRIPLE JUMP

After winning the high jump on Friday, senior David Pendergrass came back to finish fifth in the men's triple jump with a mark of 46-08.75. TCU's Jonathan Jackson won the event with a regional mark of 52-10.75. Through 13 events, the BYU men held a 137-114 advantage over Colorado State.

MEN'S 800 METERS

With the top-three athletes crossing the line within a half second of each other, Air Force junior Kevin Hawkins held off the pack to win the men's 800 meters in a time of 1:50.66. BYU sophomore Keith Jensen finished third in a time of 1:51.05. Freshman teammate Drew Foster finished fifth with a time of 1:53.22. The Cougars added 10 points to their team score, giving BYU a 147-118 advantage over Colorado State.

WOMEN'S 800 METERS

BYU junior Michelle Turner broke her own Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championship meet record with a time of 2:05.44 to win the women's 800 meter championship. Freshman Stacy Slight finished second in a regional qualifying time of 2:08.86. Teammates Angela Wagner and Heidi Houle finished fourth and fifth, respectively, to give the Cougars four of the top-five finishers in the race. Wanger had a regional qualifying time of 2:09.47, while Houle's time of 2:09.55 was also good enough to eclipse the regional qualifying standard. Earning an impressive 27 points in the event, the Cougars held a 148-100 advantage over Colorado State through 15 events. With several victories in the sprints on Saturday, TCU climbed to within three points of the Rams for third place.

MEN'S 400-METER HURDLES

The Cougars had four of the top-eight finishers in the men's 400-meter hurdles, led by 110-meter hurdle champion Nate Rencher. After winning the 110-meter hurdles earlier in the day, Rencher came back to finished third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 52.54. Senior Stig Robertson finished fourth with a time of 52.60 and Senior Jacob Garlick finished fifth with a time of 53.18. Freshman Lance Walker finished eighth with a time of 55.82. The Cougars added 16 points to their team total, leading Colorado State 163-129 through 16 events.

WOMEN'S 400-METER HURDLES

With seven of the top-eight finishers qualifying for NCAA Regional competition, BYU senior Jennifer Grossarth finished third in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.63. Sophomore Sandra Mazan finished fifth with a time of 59.63. The Cougars picked up 10 points in the event to take a 158-105 lead over TCU with 16 events in the books.

MEN'S POLE VAULT

The Cougars all but sealed the team competition after having four vaulters take four of the top-five positions in the men's pole vault. Junior Bob Low finished second for BYU with a mark of 17-01.50. Freshman Victor Weirich took third with a clearance of 17-01.50. Sophomore Whitney Neves finished fourth with a height of 16-09.50 and junior Matt Weirich finished fifth with a vault of 16-06.75. The Cougars racked up 23 points in the event to take a 55-point advantage over both Colorado State and TCU. The Horned Frogs and Rams were tied at 131 after 18 events.

MEN'S SHOT PUT

After winning the discus, senior Niklas Arrhenius came back to finish second in the men's shot put with a regional qualifying mark of 56-09.25. Freshman teammate Daniel Lawson finished fifth with a mark of 52-00.00. The Cougars added 12 more points to its team total, taking a 198-155 advantage with two events remaining.

WOMEN'S DISCUS

The Cougars picked up two more points in the team competition after junior Tipaleli Fotu finished seventh in the women's discus with a distance of 130-10. BYU held a 162-132 advantage over TCU through 18 events.

MEN'S 5,000 METERS

In one of the most dominating performances of the afternoon, senior Josh Rohatinsky set a Mountain West Conference Meet record to win the 5,000 meters. Rohatinsky traveled with the pack throughout most of the break before he pulled away with three laps remaining. In the final 800 meters, the Provo, Utah native ran just over two minutes to win event by more than four seconds over New Mexico's Jeremy Johnson. With the win, Rohatinsky picked up 10 points for the Cougars to seal BYU's 25th outdoor league championship.

WOMEN'S 5,000 METERS

BYU continued to show its dominance in the distance events by recording three of the top five finishers in the women's 5,000 meters. Sophomore Whitney McDonald ran away with the event, defeating Colorado State senior Nicole Feest by over 32 seconds. McDonald set a MWC championship meet record with a time of 16:00.16, breaking the old mark by nearly 34 seconds. Sophomore Amber Duffin finished fourth with a time of 17:09.29 and teammate Katie Bowen finished fifth in a time of 17:09.59. Through 20 events, the Cougars held a 189-142 advantage over TCU in the team standings.

WOMEN'S TRIPLE JUMP

BYU senior Kamila Rywelska turned in a regional qualifying mark of 42-05.25 in the triple jump to finish second in the event. San Diego State's Decontee Kaye won the event with a distance of 43-10.75. The Cougars picked up eight points in the team competition to take a 189-142 advantage over TCU.

MEN'S 4X400-METER RELAY

Jacob Garlick, Keith Jensen, Stig Robertson and Nate Robertson teamed to give BYU a third-place finish in the men's 4x400-meter relay. TCU won the event with a time of 3:08.09.

WOMEN'S 4X400-METER RELAY

The relay teamof Michelle Turner, Sandra Mazan, Heidi Houle and Jennifer Grossarth finished third in the women's 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:40.29. TCU won the event in a time of 3:35.42.

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