PROVO -- The BYU women's track team fielded a full squad at the Minnesota Invitational, Saturday, and the result was a sound victory over a nine-team field. With first-place team finishes in eight events, and two meet records, the Cougars easily won the meet with a total of 156 points, ahead of host Minnesota which finished with 139. Texas-Arlington (77 points), Iowa (39.5) and Marquette (37) rounded out the top five.
The Minnesota meet was the first chance for BYU to showcase its talented distance squad. Senior Melanie Steere won the 800-meters in 2:10.41, and teammate Sharolyn Shields-Thayer won the mile run with an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 4:48.14. The Cougar distance runners continued their domination in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter events. Running unattached, Jenny Crain took first place in both events. But Courtney Meldrum recorded another provisional mark for BYU with a 9:37.55 in the 3,000 and Elizabeth Jackson (16:29.27) and Tara Northcutt (16:35.62) finished second and third in the 5,000, both recording provisional marks as well. The BYU distance medley relay team set a meet record with a time of 11:49.96. Senior Kirsten Bolm set another meet record with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 8.34 in the preliminary rounds of the 60-meter hurdles. Bolm went on to win the event with an 8.47 in the final, and she won the long jump with leap of 19'09.50" (6.03m). Analee Carter cleared 5'07.00" in the high jump to give BYU its eighth event win in the collegiate division.
Despite competing without the help of its entire distance squad, the BYU men's track team nearly captured a victory at the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Colorado State Rams edged out the Cougars 106-105 for the win. Fresno State finished third with 90 points, followed by Air Force (86) and Colorado (73).
"It was a very good meet for us," said BYU coach Mark Robison. "I'm delighted with the way the guys ran today, and we feel good about our overall team performance. This puts us in pretty good shape with the conference meet coming up in about a month."
The Air Force Invitational included five of the six men's teams that will be competing in the Mountain West Conference Championships at the end of February.
On Friday, in the first day of competition, BYU's Jim Roberts recorded a second-place finish with a provisional throw of 62'06.75" (19.07m) in the men's weight throw. Roberts continued to impress on Saturday when he won the shot put with a heave of 65'04.25" (19.92m). Sprinter Kenneth Andam recorded a provisional mark on his way to a third-place finish in the 60-meters (6.66), and he also ran a provisional time of 21.12 to finish second in the 200-meters. BYU also got a second-place finish from Greg Flint in the 400-meters (47.52), while Slade Combs (8.06) and Russ Elggren (8.07) finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 60-meter hurdles. Pole vaulter Jeremy Kemp was first among collegians, and second overall, with a vault of 16'04.75" (5.00m). The Cougars finished the day with first-place finish in the mile relay, in a time of 3:15.96.
In other action over the weekend, BYU teams recorded wins in four events at the Wilson Motor Open in Logan, Utah. Melody Sheppard won the women's 3,000-meters in 10:28.80, just ahead of teammate Marie Hodson (10:30.60). The men's team took first in three events at the Open. Gabe Casdorph won the long jump with a leap of 6.74m. BYU went 1-2-3 in the 800-meters, with senior Nathan Harrison leading the way in 1:55.37, followed by Lewis Jones (1:55.95), and Dula Parkinson (1:56.05). The Cougars also took the top two places in the 3,000-meters, as Mike Thatcher won the race with a time of 8:49.40, and Gary Wilson finished a close second in 8:50.90.
The next stop for the Cougars will be the Mountain States Invitational in Pocatello, Idaho on Friday, February 2.
For complete results of the Air Force Invitational, go to www.airforcesports.com/trk/mtrk
PROVO -- Representatives from the BYU men's and women's track teams will take to the road this weekend, as they compete in the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Utah State Invitational in Logan, Utah, and the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis.
The women's team will send several of their vaulters and throwers to Colorado Springs, while another group will compete at the Utah State Invitational. Leading the way for the Cougars will likely be Cathy Fuailemaa, who recorded an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark in the 20-pound weight throw in the opening meet of the season. Her mark of 58'08.75" (17.90m) easily surpassed the standard of 58'01.00" (17.70m). BYU's lineup will also be bolstered by the opening meet of shot putter Becky Meldrum, who will compete in her first meet of the season. Meldrum finished third in the shot at last year's Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships.
Meanwhile, the sprinters and distance runners will travel to Minneapolis. The Minnesota Invitational will be the opening meet for coach Patrick Shane's talented distance team. Coming off a second place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, the team will also benefit from the addition of several redshirts from last season. All-Americans Courtney Pugmire and Elizabeth Jackson will both be competing as seniors. Pugmire won the mile run in 4:53.83 at the L.A. Invitational over the weekend, and teammate Melanie Steere took first in the 800m with a time of 2:10.43.
For the men's team, the Air Force Invitational will be a good preview for the Mountain West Conference meet, as four of the six men's teams in the conference will be competing in Colorado Springs this weekend. BYU will send its sprinters, hurdlers and field events competitors to the Air Force meet, while the distance runners will run in the Utah State Invitational.
The Air Force Academy boasts one of the fastest sprint facilities in the country, which should encourage Cougar All-Americans Kenneth Andam and Thobias Akwenye. Andam recorded an NCAA provisional mark of 6.67 in 60-meters in the season opener a week and a half ago. Akwenye ran unattached in the same meet, and finished fifth in the same race. The Invitational will feature some of the best competition of the indoor season, as many post-collegiate athletes will return to compete. BYU will also have a chance for several athletes to compete in the pentathlon. All-American Curtis Pugsley will compete in the multi-event format for the first time since placing sixth in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships last spring.
The Utah State Invitational will be run on Friday, January 26. The Air Force Invitational and the Minnesota Invitational will be run over two days, January 26-27.