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LINCOLN -- BYU track and field showed its strength with the women's team posting several national qualifying marks at the Husker Invitational Saturday.
The women's track and field team dominated the distance events, with first-place finishes in the mile, the 3,000m and the 5,000-meter run and a second-place finish in the 800-meter run.
Jamie Cottle ran the mile in 4:43.67 with Kassi Andersen close at her heels in 4:49.48. Cottle's time was a BYU season best and good enough to provisionally qualify her for nationals. Michaela Mannova won the 3,000m with a time of 9:16.79, set a new record for the Husker Invitational and automatically qualified for nationals. In addition, her time is the second fastest 3,000m time in BYU history, with Janeth Alder holding the record at 9:13.68.
The BYU women cleaned house in the 5,000-meter run, finishing one-two-three. In addition, six athletes finished in the top nine. Lindsey Thomsen (16:16.37) and Katie Martin (16.18.13) automatically qualified for nationals, and Breanne Sandberg and Lisa Antonelli provisionally qualified. Thomsen and Martin are the first Cougars this season to automatically qualify for nationals.
Although Nebraska women's team beat BYU women's team in the team scoring 224.5 to 138, Coach Poole was very pleased with the meet.
He said, "This puts us in a real good spot. We think we can get a few more people qualified in some other areas. We'll see what happens. We had a really good meet overall."
Other highlights for the women's team was a first-place finish by Jennifer Rockwell in the 200m (24.99), and Nikki Hughes tied her season-best long jump of 20-07.25 to take second. Kristy Barrus finished second in the 800-meter run in 2:14.17, and Maret Komarova threw a BYU season best in the shot put (45-01.5).
For the men, David Chesser placed third in the 400-meter run, with a time of 48.53. Also in the 400m Matt Rowe and Matt Nielsen finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Dan Arrhenius finished third in the shot put and posted a BYU season best with his toss of 56-05.25. Chad Durham also performed well with a second-place finish in the 5,000-meter run in 14:26.22. The men placed third in team scoring behind Nebraska and Texas Tech.
The men's team didn't travel a full squad, with several distance runners competing at the Montana State Invitational and long jumper Aron Szmuda staying in Provo.
Despite not having a full squad, men's head coach Mark Robison said, "It was a really tough meet. We got pushed around and banged up, but we did about what we had hoped."
The distance squad that traveled to Montana fared extremely well, winning the mile and the 3,000-meter run. Nathan Robison won the mile, and with his altitude adjusted time of 3:59.70 he automatically qualified for nationals. Kip Kangogo placed first in the 3,000-meter run with an altitude adjusted time of 7:59.36 and provisionally qualified for nationals, just missing the automatic qualifying mark.
Before competing at the conference championships Feb. 27, both the men's and the women's teams will host the Oval Qualifier at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah.
PROVO -- The BYU track and field teams will compete at the Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Feb. 15. The meet, hosted by the University of Nebraska, will include Air Force, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas Tech, Wichita State and Wyoming.
The BYU men's team is currently ranked third in the USTCA Team Power Rankings, but is not ranked by Trackwire. The Nebraska men's team is ranked fifth in the power rankings, and 15th in the Trackwire Top 25. The Air Force men's team is ranked 21st in the Team Power Rankings.
Pole vaulters Trent Powell and Erik Rasmussen come into the meet after provisionally qualifying last week with a jump of 17-04.75 (5.30m). Sprinter Nate Soelberg, who has the fastest 60-meter time in the MWC, will not make the trip after suffering an injury at the Mountain State Games. Several of the men's distance runners, including Kip Kangogo, Nathan Robison and Bryan Lindsay, will compete at the Montana State University Dual Meet on Friday.
The BYU women's track and field team is ranked 10th in the Team Power Rankings and eighth in the Trackwire Top 25. Nebraska's team is ranked 13th by Trackwire and third in the women's Team Power Rankings. The majority of BYU's distance crew will make the trip, and Nikki Hughes will return to competition after a two-week rest. Last week, the women's team did not qualify any athletes for nationals, but Head Coach Craig Poole said he feels the team is continuing to improve.
Field events will start at 2 p.m. and running events at 4 p.m. The meet will finish with the 4x400m relay at 8:45 p.m. All times are Central Standard Time. The 28th Annual Husker Invitational is the Cougars' last meet before the Mountain West Conference Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.