BYU Women Secure Historic Victory
NEW YORK -- In one of the best team performances in team history, the BYU women’s track and field team took first place at the prestigious New Balance Invitational with 90.5 points.
“We are thrilled that we can represent BYU back in the east against some of the top schools in the country,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “This is a meet that favors a team with depth and balance and we are really excited to come out on top.”
One of the most competitive races of the day was the 800-meters, featuring two Cougar runners. Junior Katie Palmer took second in the race in 2:06.20 and All-American Lacey Cramer crossed the line in 2:06.66 to take fourth. The top four runners battled throughout and were separated by less than a second.
“The 800m was a tough race,” Shane said. “There was a lot of bumping and shoving, and a few athletes fell and had to be hurdled over. It was close all the way and either one of our BYU runners could have won it.”
Bleazard also anchored the BYU 4x800m relay to a key victory in 8:53.02. Sarah Edwards, Stacy Slight and Ashlee Thomas accompanied Bleazard on the relay, which finished over five seconds ahead of the second place team.
The Cougars also garnered team points in the high jump with solid performances by juniors Ada Robinson and Diana Blauer. Robinson took second in the event by clearing a season high 1.80m and Blauer nabbed fifth by clearing 1.75m.
In the sprint events Porshe Giddings, Aubrey Hale, Arelene Gowar and Fatima Makakala combined to take fourth in the 4x200m relay with a time of 1:40.51.
Kari Hardt and Michaelanne Laurent helped the team effort in the one mile run by scoring five total points. Hardt took fifth in 4:46.68 and Laurent finished eighth in 4:50.09.
The Cougars did not secure the team victory until the final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay. Entering the race with a slim lead, the Cougar relay team of Giddings, Natalie Stewart, Bleazard and Palmer finished eighth in 3:41.29, scoring one team point and finalizing the team win.
“This was a team effort all the way,” Shane said. “I am really proud of the young women on our team and am thankful to have such a great coaching staff. Everyone contributed to this great win.”
BYU will be back in action at the Air Force Invitational and Husky Classic on February 11 and 12. Following those meets the team will have a weekend off before competing in the MWC Indoor Championships.
Track Teams Leave for New York
PROVO -- With conference championships and the NCAA Nationals quickly approaching, BYU track teams are heading to the New Balance Invitational in New York to take on some of the best collegiate programs in the country.
Several ranked teams from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll will be among the 200-plus teams in attendance. No. 1 Florida will make its case to remain at the top of the leader board while, No. 2 LSU, No. 3 Texas A&M and No. 4 Texas Tech will all be competing.
“It’s always been an incredible meet because of the level of competition,” men’s head coach Mark Robison said. “It is an opportunity to compete against teams we don’t usually see and it’s great preparation for Nationals.”
The meet will be the first point-scoring meet of the season and the Cougars will be looking to make good decisions in races and events to earn points where they can.
“Like every week we are hoping to improve,” Robison said. “This time however, its more about making good decisions in races and getting better marks to get higher placement.”
BYU’s runners will spotlight the team look to be as strong as ever with several athletes making the trip. Junior Miles Batty will compete in the 800-meter, an event where he holds the seventh fastest time in the nation at 1:48.88. Junior Justin Hedin will also compete and he currently holds the 11th ranked 800-meter time at 1:49.59.
In the field events several pole vaulters will be trying to improve on their top season marks. Sophomore Victor Weirich has already cleared an automatic qualifying mark of 5.50m (18-00.50) and Junior Chris Little has a personal season-high of 5.30m (17-04.50), good enough for second and fifth in the NCAA.
The BYU women’s track and field team, currently ranked No. 7 according to the USTFCCCA poll, will be one of six NCAA top-10 teams competing at the New Balance Invitational. Other top teams include No. 2 and reigning national champion Texas A&M, No. 3 LSU, No. 5 Tennessee, No.6 Arkansas and No. 8 Texas.
“This is an opportunity for us to compete against some of the best teams in the NCAA,” women’s head coach Patrick Shane said. “This is the biggest collegiate indoor meet in the country and we are excited to go out and compete.”
Junior Lacey Bleazard will compete in the 800-meter run and enters the meet ranked second in the nation with a time of 2:05.55. Junior Katie Palmer will also compete in the 800m and currently holds the fifth-fastest time in the NCAA.
Also highlights the BYU team will be the distance medley relay team of Bleazard, Palmer, Natalie Stewart and Nicole Clark. The team put together the second-fastest DMR relay time in the country last week at the Washington Invitational and will look to run an automatic qualifying time in New York.
Sophomore Rachel Fisher highlights the field events for the Cougars and will compete in the pole vault. Fisher currently holds a top-10 pole vault mark and will also look to automatically qualify for Nationals on Saturday.