KEARNS -- The Utah Olympic Oval not only houses world-record ice, but the track is pretty fast too. Tonight more than eight track and field athletes qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Indoor Championships at the Olympic Oval Invitational hosted by BYU and the University of Utah.
In the women's 60-meter hurdles and the women's 60-meter dash, the fastest times in the nation so far this season were ran at the invitational in Kearns, Utah. Perdita Filicien, the defending NCAA Champion from the University of Illinois, ran a blazing 7.95 in the 60-meter hurdles. She was closely followed by Tiffany Hogan, a former BYU star who ran unattached. Philomena Mensah (7.18) and Chequetta Bearfield (7.30) led in the 60-meter dash, Mensah running unattached and Bearfield running for the University of Illinois.
BYU led the meet with 12 first-places finishes for the men and seven for the women. Sophomore Kip Kangogo was named the Male Athlete of the Meet for his first-place finish in the mile, with a time of 4:05.78. Kangogo's altitutde adjusted time of 4:01.09 makes him a provisional qualifier for nationals. Also in the mile, Nathan Robison ran an altitude adjusted time of 4:01.38 to qualify for nationals.
Men's head coach Mark Robison said, "This is a much faster facilility than Boise. It even exceeded our expectations. As a team it may have been the best meet of our lives, but I don't know how much of that is the facility."
Nikki Hughes jumped 20-07.25 in the long jump, good enough to provisionally qualify for NCAA Indoor Nationals. Also posting provisional qualifying times for BYU were Scott Adams, with his 800-meter time of 1:49.96, and Nate Soelberg, who ran the 60-meter dash in 6.68.
Women's head coach Craig Poole said he feels his team greatly improved since last week's meet at Boise State.
"This facility runs very fast," he said. "It's chilly, which I don't know if that makes them run faster or not. The temperature is about 60 degrees, but it is also humid and I think that helps the sprinters run better."
PROVO -- For the first time in over 15 years, BYU will host an indoor track and field meet, but the only catch is that the meet is not at home. The Olympic Oval Invitational will be hosted in conjunction with the University of Utah and will take place at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, this Saturday.
Blind curves at BYU's indoor track at the Smith Field House make the facility neither spectator friendly nor safe for competition. Women's head coach Craig Poole said although BYU is hosting the meet this weekend his team is still at a disadvantage.
"Because of the logistics of the meet, and because we have to travel to Salt Lake, for us it's still an away meet," he said.
The BYU coaches said they feel it is a great opportunity to compete at the Kearns facility, but the ultimate goal would be for BYU to have their own fully functioning indoor track facility.
"For the level and the prestige of our team, it doesn't fit the bill [not to have an indoor facility]," Poole said.
The Olympic Oval boasts a 442-meter state-of-the-art Mondo Super X track that has four lanes. One of the hockey rinks inside the track will be converted into the field area for the jumping pits and the throwing events. Also competing at the invitational will be the University of Utah, Weber State, the University of Illinois women's team and Southern Utah University's distance team.
A couple of exciting events to watch will be the men's mile, with some of best milers in the state competing, and the women's hurdles. University of Illinois' Perdita Felicien, 2002 NCAA Indoor Champion and record holder in the 60mH will be competing, and former BYU star Tiffany Lott-Hogan, who holds the World Indoor Record in the 55mH, will also run.
The Cougars started their season last week in Boise, Idaho. This week they look to improve on their performance in the last meet and have some athletes qualify for nationals.
The field events will go from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the running events will go from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.