Robison Pratt was one of 15 Cougars to earn an All-American citation at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
FAYETTEVILLE -- Through a balanced scoring effort, the BYU women's track team made their strongest showing in five years by scoring 26 points at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships and placing sixth overall, while the men earned ten All-American citations.
Combined, the Cougars earned 15 All-American citations during the two-day competition, including five by the women's team.
Five of the six women that qualified for nationals scored points for the Cougars. The 26 points are the second most scored at NCAA Indoor Championships in school history. They also scored 26 points in 1981. At the 2000 NCAAs, the Cougars scored a school-record 28 points.
BYU women's track coach Craig Poole said he was proud of the way his team competed, barely missing out on an even higher finish.
"I'm very happy for our girls," Poole said. "They did a fantastic and outstanding job. They made a lot of personal best marks."
The men's team finished the competition with only 14.5 points to finish 15th, but BYU men's track coach Mark Robison said he was pleased anyway.
"We got a lot of All-Americans," he said. "It's probably a school record. We put in a lot of great efforts this season."
The highest scorer for the men was senior Rodrigo Mendes. The native of Brazil tied his highest finish at a national competition by placing second in the triple jump. He also finished second at last year's outdoor championships. He cleared a season-best 54 feet 6 inches, adding eight points to the men's total. His jump is the second best jump in school history.
The high scorer for the women was multi-event star Amy Menlove. She scored 14 points between the open long jump and the pentathlon.
Just like yesterday's open long jump, Menlove started off the pentathlon long jump with her best mark. Menlove set a school and Mountain West Conference record with a jump of 21 feet 10.75 inches. The mark is the ninth best American mark, trailing Olympic super star Marion Jones by less than two inches. She passed on her final two attempts.
With her giant leap in the long jump, Menlove took a lead into the final event of the pentathlon, the 800 meters. But Ashley Selig of Nebraska trailed Menlove by 139 points, going into Selig's strongest event, the 800 meters.
Menlove couldn't quite keep up with Selig, finishing just more than 11 seconds behind Selig. The strong run by Selig propelled her to a 15 point victory over Menlove.
Menlove tossed the shot put 36 feet 7 inches, just an inch-and-a-half short of her personal best. The throw kept her within striking distance of the leaders, with her strongest event, the long jump, still to come. The throw was worth 605 points.
Junior Liis Berendsen also competed in the pentathlon. She set a season-best mark in the shot put. Her mark was more than two feet better than her previous best. She earned 604 points for the throw.
Berendsen cleared 5 feet 7 inches during the high jump portion of the pentathlon, to earn 855 points. Menlove cleared 5 feet 5.75 inches, which is her second best jump ever. She earned 818 points for her jump.
Menlove started strong in the pentathlon by winning the 60-meter hurdles in a personal best 8.28. The time earned her 1,066 points. Berendsen meanwhile crossed the finish line at 9.14, to earn 881 points. Berendsen finished the entire pentathlon in 12th.
By crossing the finish line in sixth place, freshman sensation Heidi Magill earned three points for the Cougars, giving them their final points of the championships.
Triple jumper Kamila Rywelska added to the Cougar point total, placing fifth in the event. The native of Poland, like the other Cougar jumpers, started with her best jump of the day. She cleared 44 feet 2.5 inches on her first jump to collect four more points for the women's team.
Josh Rohatinsky and Bryan Lindsay competed in the finals of the men's 3,000 meters, but failed to earn any points for the team. Rohatinsky finished with a time of 8:05.67 and was named an All-American, while Lindsay crossed the line at 8:15.71.
The Cougars will almost immediately begin the outdoor season when they head to Arizona for the Willie Williams Invitational this weekend.
BYU All-American Citations at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships:
Josh Rohatinsky-3,000 meters
Trent Powell-Pole Vault
Robison Pratt- Pole Vault
Rodrigo Mendes-Triple Jump
Amy Menlove-Long Jump, Pentathlon
Lindsey Metcalf-High Jump
Kamila Rywelska-Triple Jump