Bleazard Wins National Title
COLLEGE STATION -- On the second and final day of the NCAA Indoor National Championships, BYU junior Lacey Bleazard won the second 800-meter National title of her career, finishing the race in 2:04.09 to take home the victory.
"It was our plan to have her go out fast and take the lead early," head coach Patrick Shane said. "A couple runners tried to pass her on the final lap but she held them off and had a great finish. I could not be more proud of her. She ran the race perfect."
Bleazard led for most of the race, taking the early lead during the second of four laps. During the final 60 meters Michigan’s Jillian Smith made a push for the lead, but Bleazard had the better finishing speed and won by a wide margin, .69 seconds.
As a freshman in 2009 Bleazard won the indoor 800-meter championship and became the first freshman to win an individual National Championship in BYU history. In 2010 Bleazard finished as the runner-up in the indoor 800-meters, getting narrowly edged out at the finish by Tennessee’s Phoebe Wright.
With the victory, Bleazard becomes the first BYU women’s track athlete to win multiple National Championships in one event since Tiffany Lott-Hogan won the outdoor heptathlon title in 1997 and 1998.
The win also marks the sixth time a BYU athlete has won an individual indoor National title, dating back to 1980 when Themis Zambryzcki won the pentathlon for the Cougars.
Also competing on Saturday for the Cougars were Rachel Fisher and Christen Botteron in the pole vault. Fisher entered competition ranked 10th in the nation, Botteron 16th.
"Rachel and Christen both struggled today but should improve heading into outdoor season," Shane said. "They both were unable to clear their heights but will come back strong during outdoor and next season."
Both athletes struggled on Saturday and were unable to clear the opening height and did not place in the event.
As a team the Cougars finished with 14 points, 10 coming from Bleazard’s championship finish in the 800-meters and four from Ada Robinson’s fifth place high jump finish. The two top eight finishes were enough for BYU to take 15th place as a team.
This meet marks the conclusion of the NCAA indoor season. Outdoor season will begin for BYU with the San Diego State Invitational on March 18-19.
For complete results CLICK HERE.
No. 11 Women Leave for Nationals
PROVO -- The No. 11 BYU women’s track and field team will take eight athletes to the NCAA Indoor National Championships on March 11-12 in College Station, Texas with hopes of a top 10 national finish.
"We have a lot of experienced athletes coming into the meet," head coach Patrick Shane said. "I have confidence in everyone that we brought here to compete. It should be a fun meet."
Junior Lacey Bleazard returns to the National Championships to compete in the 800 meters for the third consecutive year. Bleazard won the 800m title in 2009 as a freshman and fell just short of repeating as champion in 2010, placing second.
Competing alongside Bleazard in the 800m will be junior Katie Palmer. Palmer was named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Track Athlete of the Year on Monday and placed fourth at the 2009 National Championships in the 800m.
Four Cougars will compete in the field events, with two in the high jump and two in the pole vault. Junior Ada Robinson is currently ranked third in the nation in the high jump and junior Diana Blauer ranks 11th in the same event.
Rachel Fisher will enter the championships with the 10th best 2011 mark in the pole vault at 4.26m (13-11.75). Teammate Christen Botteron cleared a career best 4.22m (13-10) earlier this season and ranks 16th in the nation.
BYU will also compete in the distance medley relay. Juniors Nicole Clark and Natalie Stewart will accompany Bleazard and Palmer on the team. The group will enter competition with the seventh fastest time in the NCAA (11:03.70).
"Our distance medley relay team has a chance to win the championship," Shane said. "We are one of the three or four best teams in the country and our runners are all running their best right now."
The meet is scheduled to bring on Friday, March 11 at 3:00 p.m. MT with the women's weight throw and the women's one mile run. All BYU athletes start times can be found below.
For live results CLICK HERE.
Athlete Event Start Time*
Lacey Bleazard 800 meters 5:00 p.m. (Friday - Preliminary)
Katie Palmer 800 meters 5:00 p.m. (Friday - Preliminary)
Ada Robinson High Jump 5:30 p.m. (Friday)
Diana Blauer High Jump 5:30 p.m. (Friday)
Bleazard, Palmer DMR 7:20 p.m. (Friday)
Rachel Fisher Pole Vault 3:00 p.m. (Saturday)
Christen Botteron Pole Vault 3:00 p.m. (Saturday)