LINCOLN, Neb. (February 12) - Senior Kirsten Bolm set a new career best and broke a school record in the 60-meter hurdles, winning the event at the Husker Invitational in an astounding 8.13 seconds, an automatic NCAA qualifying time and the second-fastest in the nation this year. In Indianapolis, at the talent-laden Canon IV Classic, BYU's women's distance runners picked up one automatic and nine provisional NCAA marks.
Although several athletes set personal bests in Lincoln, women's coach Craig Poole had hoped a few more NCAA qualifiers would come out of the meet. "We didn't do quite as well as we would have liked this weekend," said Poole. "We had some people come down with colds and others who weren't feeling well, but in spite of all that we did have some good performances."
Among the notable performances in the ultra-deep field of competition were a fifth-place finish in the high jump by Jeana Bingham (5'-8.75") and a sixth-place performance by Kristel Berendsen in the long jump (19'-0.75"). Nebraska native Becky Beachler placed fifth in the shot put with a 49'-7.25" throw.
On the men's side, national shot put leader Jim Roberts faced off against the best throwing talent in the country, and although his 62'-7.75" gave him a fourth-place finish, his year-best 64'-10.5" is still intact at the top this season. High jumper Marc Chenn was the Cougars' lone event champion for the men in Nebraska, tying for the win by clearing 7'-1". The distance runners were led by a pair of third-place finishes, Dula Parkinson in the mile (4:16.07) and Gary Wilson in the 3,000 meters (8:35.75). BYU's 4x400 team cut three seconds off their season-best time, taking second place in 3:15.24. All-American Jeff Hansen placed third in the pole vault, clearing 17'-6.5".
At this weekend's Cannon IV Classic, the women's distance runners demonstrated the form and depth that earned them the 1999 cross country title. Six-time All-American Elizabeth Jackson provided the meet's most outstanding performance with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 16:05.73 in the 5,000 meters. The time was good for second place and was nearly 13 seconds below the NCAA standard. Two more Cougars provisionally qualified in the event, Kara Ormond (fifth, 16:40.41) and Marty Hernandez (seventh, 16:41.60). The mile run produced three more provisional qualifiers in Tara Haynes (fourth, 4:45.69), Susan Taylor (10th, 4:47.20) and Lindsay Nadauld (11th, 4:47.22). In the 3,000 meters, Laura Heiner took third in 9:27.42 while teammate Sherida Rogers placed seventh in 9:39.71. Both times were NCAA provisional marks.
Two distance medley teams also provisionally qualified in Indianapolis. The team of Jolee Gillespie, Holly Gibbons, Nadauld and Taylor won the event in 11:21.90, followed by Sharolyn Shields, Milena Alver, Haynes and Rogers in third place in 11:30.05.
The final competition of the weekend took place at the Weber State Invitational, where some of the men's younger talent made their mark. The squad was led by Rick Madsen, who won both the long jump (23'-1") and the triple jump (48'8"). In other action, Rodney Wilkerson took second in both the 55 meters (6.31) and the 200 meters (22.06). Russ Elggren was edged in a .01 second photo-finish in the 55-meter hurdles, ending up second (7.49) and Chris Kemp was defeated by the same margin in the 400 meters (50.05).
"We had some excellent performances in a number of events," men's coach Willard Hirschi said. "We had some good competition and overall I'm very pleased with our performance heading into the conference meet."
Next on the schedule for both teams is the Air Force Open in Colorado Springs Saturday, Feb. 19. The open will be the final tune-up for the Cougars before the Mountain West Conference Championships Feb. 24-26, also in Colorado Springs.
PROVO, Utah (February 8) - Athletes from over 50 teams will send representatives to the Husker Invitational on the campus of the University of Nebraska Feb. 11-12 in what looks to be a preview of the NCAA indoor championships. The meet will be highlighted by a showdown between Nebraska's No. 9 and No. 13 women's and men's teams and BYU's No. 15 and No. 22 squads. Eight of the nation's individual leaders and 60 athletes who rank in the top 10 in their respective events will compete in Lincoln.
All eyes will be on BYU junior Jim Roberts, whose 64'-10.5" performance last Saturday in the shot put gave him the national lead and earned him Mountain West Conference athlete of the week honors. He will face off against Nebraska freshman Carl Myerscough, currently ranked second in the nation. BYU star sprinter Kenneth Andam will not participate this weekend after suffering a first-degree sprain of his left ankle on a turn in the 200 meters last Saturday.
The men will also send a team of athletes to the Wildcat Invitational in Ogden Feb. 12 to compete against in-state rivals Weber State and Utah State, among others. "Most of our guys will be involved this weekend, and it will give them a chance to compete against athletes from all over the nation," said men's coach Willard Hirschi. "Our hope for this weekend is that some people who have seen spurts of brilliance will perform with fluidity when their time comes, and qualify for the NCAAs."
BYU's women will also compete with split squads this weekend, as a variety of athletes will travel to Nebraska while the distance runners make a visit to the Butler Invitational in Indianapolis Friday and Saturday. Women's coach Craig Poole plans to use Butler as a qualifying platform, hoping to qualify a distance medley team and a couple of 400-meter athletes, as well as the Cougars' best distance runners for the NCAA finals. "Both will be fast meets," said Poole. "Lately we've been resting and backing off a little, but we've always done well at these meets in the past, so we're looking to pick up a bunch of good marks this weekend."