Pole Vaulters shine at Cherry & Silver Invite

(Photo by BYU Photo)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Pole vaulters Rachel Fisher and Kelli Ehardt led the BYU women’s track team with first- and fifth-place finishes in a pool of 30 vaulters this weekend at the annual Cherry & Silver Invitational.

“Rachel (Fisher) had an amazing meet,” assistant coach Corey Murdock said, “especially since it has been about a year and a half since she’s jumped that high because of injuries. To see her come back with a smile on her face is a great sign. It’s been a long road back for her.”

Fisher finished with a vault of 4.10m (13-05.25).

Ehardt, who sat out last year due to injury, showed vast improvements in her first meet back clearing 3.80m (12-05.50) without much effort. On her next vault, however, Ehardt lost grip of the pole and landed upside down, headfirst in the pit. According to Murdock, “she was rolling up to that point.”

“Kelli (Ehardt) has also had a long road to get back to where she is,” Murdock said. “Following her accident, she got right back up and had a great attempt. It was pretty scary, but to see how she responded shows a lot about her character and how much it means to her to compete.”

Another highlight for the Cougars was a third-place finish for BYU’s ‘A’ 4x400 meter team. The team, comprising of Angela Shields, Kaylee Packham, Natalie Stewart and Nicole Rudd, finished with a time of 3:49.25.

The ‘B’ 4x400 team with Alyssa Parco, Melissa Keltner, Brie Simmons and Andee Shelton finished 12th with a time of 3:56.94.

During the 400m hurdles, an event consisting of only BYU athletes, Angela Shields finished first in 1:01.73 followed closely by Packham in 1:02.62. Teammates Andee Shelton and Kensey Berry finished third and fourth with times of 1:05.95 and 1:07.07, respectively.

Rudd and Stewart also competed in the 400m finishing ninth (56.93) and 10th (57.00), respectively. This was Stewart's first time competing since the 2011 indoor season.

In the high jump the top two finishers for the Cougars were Taylor Stapley and newcomer Melissa Merrill. Stapley finished seventh with a jump of 1.68m (5-06.00), and Merrill placed 10th with a jump of 1.63m (5-04.25).

The Cougars head to Colorado Springs, Colo., next weekend for the Air Force Team Challenge.

Full results for the Cherry & Silver Invitational can be found here.