Track Teams Fair Well at Outdoor Season Opener
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TUCSON -- With clear skies and the sun shinning, the BYU men's and women's track and field teams competed in their first outdoor meet of the season at the University of Arizona Willie Williams Classic in Tucson, Ariz.
Commenting on the meet, men's head coach Mark Robison said, "For the most part I was pleased because the big thing is the athletes haven't run that many days outside and we're still adjusting. We've worked pretty hard the last two or three weeks, and so the kids are a little bit tired and fatigued."
Dan Arrhenius qualified for regionals in the discus with his throw of 166-04. He also had a qualifying mark in the shot put with a toss of 56-05.75. Greg Flint ran the 400-meter hurdles in 51.86 and posted a regional qualifying time. Matt Holcomb placed fourth in the hammer throw with a distance of 188-11 and qualified for regionals. The men's 4x400-meter relay placed first with a regional qualifying time of 3:11.29.
Matt Nielson had a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash in 47.75. He was closely followed by Matt Rowe, who finished third. In the distance events, Lars Kjerengtroen placed second in the 800-meter run in 1:51.83, and he was followed by Jeff Taylor in third. Steve Barrus placed second in the 1,500-meter run in 3:53.85, and Rich Evanson placed third.
Coach Robison said he felt like the team reached its goals they had set for the meet.
"The main thing we wanted to accomplish this week was to get us ready for Stanford," Robison said.
Women's track and field head coach Craig Poole was pleased with his team's performance.
"Overall for the first meet we really did quite well," Poole said. "We had a number of really fine things happen. We had our 4x400-meter relay team qualify the first time out, which is really good. We had several personal bests in the hammer throw and the long jump."
Jennifer Rockwell placed second in the 400-meter dash in 55.01, just one-hundredth off the regional qualifying mark. She also placed third in the 400-meter hurdles in 1:02.07. The 4x400-meter relay team placed second and qualified for regionals with time of 3:44.81. Lindsey Sommer placed second in the long jump, with a leap of 18-09.25, and third in the triple jump, with a distance of 38-02.
Kristy Barrus ran the 1,500-meter run in 4:38.19 to place second. In the 5,000-meter run BYU finished third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, with Emily Mars leading the pack in 17:53.12.
Poole said his team is working to improve one meet at a time, but their focus is on the championship meets at the end of the season.
He said, "Right now we're under a very heave work load so we'll be a little bit tired at these meets, but they become quality work outs for us because our focus is on the end of season when we get to the big meets."
PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's track and field teams will kick off their outdoor season this weekend at the Willie Williams Classic hosted by the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz.
The Cougars will compete against athletes from New Mexico State, Minnesota, Washington State, University of Arizona, Western State, Central Arizona and Pima Community College. BYU just finished its indoor season with the women placing 13th and the men placing 27th at nationals.
For BYU women's team, senior Nikki Hughes finished her collegiate carreer with the indoor season, but several other athletes will join the roster, including distance runners Laura Turner and Devra Vierkant.
On the men's team, hurdler Greg Flint will come off a redshirt to compete in the outdoor season, and Tyler Bushnell will run the steeplechase and finish his eligibility this year.
The meet will mix high school and collegiate events. Collegiate competition will begin Friday, March 21 at 4 p.m., and will continue Saturday, March 22 at 10 a.m. The meet will end with the 4x400-meter relay races around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.