Women's 2006 Season Review

Freshman Amy Fowler was named an All-American in the 2006 season. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- New records were set and an All-American was made during the Cougar women's 2006 track and field season.

MWC Indoor Championships - Albuquerque, N.M.

The women took second at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships, trailing Colorado State by a single point. The Cougars were one point ahead of the Rams going into the final event, the mile relay. Challis Firl narrowed the gap to a handful of strides as the anchor leg but in the end it was Colorado State with the heat win and the MWC title. It was a strong performance for the team and several athletes stood out in the competition.

Field Events. Kamila Rywelska fought her way to a third indoor title in the triple jump with a MWC all-time record of 42 feet 1/2 inch. The women pole vaulters took four of the top six positions on the medals stand. Mandy Kelly Lonsway led the way with a vault of 13 feet 3/4 inches and a second-place finish. Sophomore Leli Fotu finished sixth in the weight throw. Kristin Hirst took the platform for her sixth-place finish in the high jump to add points to the Cougar cause.

Distance. Michelle Lindsay brought home the title in the 800 meters with teammate Challis Firl just behind her in second. Allison Passey also took a medal for her sixth-place finish. Fighting their way through a tight pack, the mile runners ended their competition with Laura Taylor in fourth, Ann Marie Thomas in fifth and Carolyn Quebe in sixth. Anne Heiner crossed the line in third in the 3,000 meters. BYU women took third through sixth in the event. In the 5,000-meter competition was cross country All-Americans Chelsea Smith McKell, setting a meet record of 17:14.20, and Breanne Sandberg with a track record of 17:24.68. The women went second and third in the event. Heiner, Lindsay, Neeley and Carolyn Quebe crossed the line first in the distance medley relay.

Other Top Performances. Freshman Mindy Neeley's tally of events included: a second-place finish in the long jump, fifth in the 200 meters, sixth in the 60 meters and her teams finished first in the distance medley relay and sixth in the mile relay. Neeley received the Freshman of the Year Award for her performances. JennaBree Tollestrup and Liis Berendsen started off the competition going fourth and fifth in the women's pentathlon. Kathryn Sevy took second, and Sarah Lacey placed fifth in the 60-meter hurdles.

NCAA Indoor Championships - Fayetteville, Ark.

Although the women did not compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships, there were several who came close to qualifying. Cross Country All-American McKell was a top provisional qualifier in the 5,000 meters but did not join the men in Arkansas due to illness. Other provisional qualifiers were Lindsay in the 800 meters, Lonsway on the pole vault and Rywelska in the triple jump.

MWC Outdoor Championships - Provo, Utah

The Cougar women won five individual titles and scored 183 points, 32.5 points more than Colorado State to win the 2006 MWC Outdoor Championships.

Distance Domination. Led by McKell, the women dictated nearly every distance event. After setting a conference championship meet record of 35:01.98 in the 10,000 meters, McKell captured the distance championships double by winning the 5,000 meters. Teammate Lisa Frischnecht was second to cross the line in the 10,000 with a time of 37:46.68. Rena Chesser scored in the 5,000 meters by placing fourth. Chesser won the 3,000-meter steeplechase as well with a time of 10:53.53. Freshman Amy Fowler had a fourth-place finish in the steeplechase.

The Cougars placed three point scorers in the 1,500- and 800-meter runs. Lindsay (2:08.65) and Firl (2:09.15) recorded personal records in the 800 to finish first and second. BYU's three scorers in the 1,500 meters were Fowler and sophomores Taylor and Quebe. Fowler came in second with a time of 4:34.86.

Hurdles and Sprints. Sophomore Nicole Nevitt placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles with a season and career-best time of 60.15. Sarah Lacey, a sophomore, and Tollestrup, a freshman, placed fifth and eighth in the 100 meters. Both Lacey and Tollestrup set personal records with times of 14.08 and 14.42 in the prelims.

Field Events. Freshman standout Mindy Neeley won the women's long jump with a jump of 19 feet 8.25 inches. In the triple jump, Rywelska added points for the women with a 40-foot 4-inch jump that gave her a third-place finish. Hirst took a second-place finish in the women's high jump with a jump of 5 feet 6.5 inches. BYU also performed well in the women's pole vault, placing four athletes in the top eight. Julene Bailey-Kaufusi, a sophomore, jumped to a second-place finish by reaching a season-high 13 feet and 1.5 inches. Lonsway was close behind, finishing third with a vault of 12 feet 9.5 inches. The javelin trio of junior Tiffany Arrhenius (156 feet 5 inches), sophomore Piret Kuresson (156 feet 3 inches) and freshman Sarah Butler (143 feet 11 inches) scored the women's only points in the throwing events, placing third, fifth and sixth.

NCAA West Region Championships - Provo, Utah

The Cougar women finished 10th at the West Region Championships and Fowler won the title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Five women qualified to compete at nationals based on their finishes at Regionals or their season-best marks.

Lindsay finished fifth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:09.40 to earn her automatic bid to the national competition. Firl finished third in her heat in the event but just missed finals qualification. Lonsway finished sixth in the pole vault competition and earned an at-large bid for her season best performance.

Nevitt finished sixth in the 400-meter hurdles, just missing nationals qualification. She finished with a time of 1:00.55. McKell finished sixth in the 5,000 meters, finishing the event in a time of 17:24.61. McKell had previously provisionally qualified to compete in the 10,000 meters at nationals.

NCAA Outdoor Nationals - Sacramento, Calif.

The women added another All-American to their resume with Fowler finishing seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a lifetime best of 10:08.12. Chesser, who took third in the event in 2005, finished 12th with a time of 10:19.47. Lindsay ran against a tough field in the 800 meters. She improved upon her personal best by more than a second with a time of 2:07.06 in her first national's appearance. She led her heat for most of the final lap, but could not hang on down the final stretch and narrowly missed qualifying for the semifinals.

Lonsway, the BYU pole vault record holder, reached 12 feet 9.5 inches in her national championship debut but was unable to make the qualifying height of 13 feet 5.25 inches. Lonsway has a personal record of 13 feet 5.5 inches that she set earlier in the year.

All-Americans

Amy Fowler (3,000m Steeplechase)

MWC Titles

Rena Chesser (3,000m Steeplechase)

Michelle Lindsay (Indoor and Outdoor 800 Meters)

Chelsea McKell (Outdoor 5,000 and 10,000 Meters)

Mindy Neeley (Outdoor Long Jump)

Kamila Rywelska (Indoor Triple Jump)

Relays: Challis Firl, Anne Heiner, Michelle Lindsay and Mindy Neeley (Indoor DMR)

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