Robbie Pratt was one of many Cougars to win an individual title at the MWC Indoor Championships. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
COLORADO SPRINGS -- In one of the most exciting Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships ever, the BYU men's and women's track team swept conference titles.
The men's title came down to the very last event of the meet, before a winner could be declared.
"It was a phenomenal competition," BYU men's track coach Mark Robison said. "That's the hairiest it has ever been."
The men trailed Colorado State until the second to last event, when they took a one-and-a-half point lead into the final event, the 4x400 yard relay. If Colorado State could beat the Cougars in the relay, they would win the conference title, otherwise BYU would win it.
Stig Robertson, Bryan Payne, Lars Kjerengtroen and Jake Garlick held the lead in the relay from start to finish, except for one turn during the race. Garlick anchored the race and crossed the finish line to the cheers of his teammates.
"The three before me did great," Garlick said. "I just kept saying in my mind 'keep the lead'."
Garlick turned in a spectacular day at the championships. He was awarded the Male High Point Athlete with 26.5 points in the meet. Robison said Garlick's efforts were unbelievable and that he really stepped up for the team.
The women also won the conference title, but in a less dramatic situation. The women lead , for the most part, from start to finish, though the meet was closer than its been in the past.
"Our team is very excited," BYU women's track coach Craig Poole said. "Last night, everybody committed to do what they needed to help us win. Today, they did it."
Poole also said, the win was a real team effort, that everybody did their part to make the team successful.
Leading the way for the women was Amy Menlove. For her amazing efforts from the pentathlon to the hurdles to the sprints to the long jump, she was honored as the Female High Point Athlete.
Freshman Heidi Magill, a distance specialist, was named MWC Indoor Freshman of the Year.
Both BYU men's and women's coaches were named MWC Indoor Coach of the Year. Poole shared the award with Colorado State's Del Hessel.
Menlove won her third event of the meet with an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 8.37 in the 60-meter hurdles. She beat defending MWC champion Shauna Smith in a photo finish. Smith finished at 8.40. The mark is made even more impressive because Menlove has only been hurdling for a year.
In her final event of the competition, Menlove placed fifth in the 60 meter dash. She finished the championships with three individual titles and contributed 34 points to the Cougars' team score.
All-American Lindsey Metcalf won the high jump competition again as the reigning conference champion. And Chelsea Smith won the women's 3,000 meters, right before the women's 4x400 team finished second to end the meet for the women.
Junior Kamila Rywelska won the triple jump for the second consecutive time with a season-best leap of 43 feet 6 inches. She also holds the MWC Championship record and all-time conference record in the event.
Teammates Liis Berensen and Lindsey Sommer finished third and fourth in the event. The three triple jumpers helped the Cougars extend their lead over Colorado State.
The men's team took the lead by a point-and-a-half after gaining 12 points in the men's 3,000 meters. Dustin Bybee finished third and Bryan Lindsay placed fourth. Sophomore Chandler Goodwin chipped in with one point by finishing eighth in the race..
Junior pole vaulter Robby Pratt repeated as the MWC pole vault champion by clearing a season-best 17 feet 9.25 inches. Trent Powell finished fourth and Alex Green 11th. The vaulters brought the Cougars within three points of the Rams with two events remaining.
Jumper extraordinaire Rodrigo Mendes won both events in which he competed after winning the triple jump on Saturday and the long jump on Friday. Mendes leapt 52 feet 1.75 inches to successfully defend his title in the triple jump.
Junior Matt Anderson placed fourth in the triple jump with a season best 48 feet 6 inches. High jump champion David Pendergrass placed sixth to gain three points for the team.
The men's team drew within one point of Colorado State after the 800 meters. Jason Dorais and Lars Kjerengtroen placed third and fourth respectively, adding 11 more points. Senior Kansas Whitear added two points by placing seventh.
A trio of freshman added to the Cougar point total in the women's 800 meters. Orem native Michelle Lindsay placed third at 2:15.43 just ahead of Heidi Magill. Laura Taylor placed seventh in the event.
David Chesser and Jake Garlick combined to give the Cougars eight more points in the 200 meter dash. Chesser placed fourth at 21.86 and Garlick sixth at 21.93. The event was dominated by five athletes from Colorado State and won by Air Force freshman Travis Picou.
Garlick won his second event of the day when he crossed the tape in 48.54 during the 400 meters. Senior David Chesser finished third at 48.87 and freshman Bryan Payne placed fourth with a time of 48.92. Payne's time was a personal record.
Sprinter Challis Firl finished sixth in the 400 meter finals and multi-event athlete Maret Komarova placed fourth in the shot put with a season-best throw of 46 feet eight inches.
The men gained some ground on Colorado State after the mile run. With three Cougars in the top-5, the team added 20 points to its score.
Senior Bryan Lindsay won the event in 4:14.05 with All-American Nathan Robison in third and junior Josh McAdams finishing fifth. Junior Dustin Trail placed 10th.
Freshman Heidi Magill won the women's mile in 4:55.98 for an NCAA provisional qualifying mark. The Orem native led a trio of Cougars in the event. Senior Rena Chesser-Williams finished fourth and junior Kristy Barrus finished sixth, giving the Cougars 18 points in the event.
The Arrhenius brothers teamed up in the shot put to add 12 points to the Cougar score. Niklas Arrhenius threw 58 feet 11inches to finishing second behind Colorado State's Magnus Lohse. Freshman Leif Arrhenius placed fifth with a toss of 54 feet 1 inch.
Football's Nate Soelberg finished second in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.86, tying his season best.
The men gathered 19 points in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles, thanks to three season-best marks from Garlick, Bryan Payne and Stig Robertson. Garlick won the event with a time of 7.95, while Payne finished fourth at 8.31 and Robertson finished fifth at 8.38.