Hometown Cougars Put Forth Big-Time Performances


PROVO -- Lifetime bests, school top marks and regional qualifications were all a part of the package shared with the BYU crowd at the track and field Cougar Invitational Friday.

"We had an excellent meet and a lot of great performances," Coach Mark Robison said. "It was just the kind of meet we needed with good competition and lots of really good marks."

Joining BYU in competition were: Northern Arizona, Southern Utah, University of Utah, Utah State, Utah Valley State, Weber State, Wyoming and Mimasaka University.

Mountain West Conference high jump champion David Pendergrass tied for the fifth-best all-time BYU height of 7 feet 3 inches on his way to win the event. Freshman Trevor Heiner took third with a height of 6 feet 8.75 inches. Kristin Hirst took second in the women's high jump, reaching a height of 5 feet 5 inches.

Liis Berendsen tied for second in the long jump with a jump of 17 feet 11 inches. In the men's triple jump, Joe Dredge took third with a jump of 45 feet 3.75 inches.

BYU women took the top three spots in the pole vault with Julene Bailey-Kaufusi with the win and a height of 12 feet 5.5 inches. Teammates Ashley McAllister and Kelly Furr were second and third to finish. For the men, freshman Bob Low set a personal record and regional-qualifying mark, reaching a height of 17 feet to win the event.

Two freshmen set personal bests in the javelin in Chris Reno (221 feet 9 inches) and Blaine Baker (220 feet 10 inches). The pair had already qualified for regionals but improved their marks in the meet. All-American Niklas Arrhenius set a personal best in the discus, throwing the disc for 208 feet 11 inches. The mark is BYU's fourth all-time best throw.

Javelin-throwers Sarah Butler and Tiffany Arrhenius packed a one-two punch, throwing 142 feet 7 inches and 142 feet, respectively. Aubrey Cowan also put forth a solid performance, taking fourth in the shot put with a team season-best of 43 feet 0.5 inches.

Cougar blue decorated the top four spots in the women's 800 meters. Challis Firl came first with a time of 2:12.68, followed by Lorette Hanson, Allison Passey and Carolyn Quebe.

Men's 800-meter competition also faired well for BYU, with three athletes in the top five. Freshman Chris Carter entered his first meet of the outdoor season to win the race with a time of 1:53.96. Teammates Andrew Martin and Chris Bramwell took third and fifth, respectively. Fellow freshman Jason Howard also put forth a winning performance in the 400 meters with a personal-best time of 48.02.

Paul Smith won the 200 meters with a time of 21.34, followed by teammate Todd Watkins in third. Cougar men took three of the top four spots in the 100 meters. Again, Smith was the first Cougar across the line, in second with a time of 10.63. Watkins and Nate Soelberg came behind him in third and fourth.

In the 400-meter hurdles, Nicole Nevitt set a team season best of 1:03.17 to finish fourth. For the men's 400-meter hurdles, Stig Robertson competed in the event for the first time in two years due to injury and returned in great form as the first Cougar across the line with a time of 53.62.

The 110-meter hurdle outcome was favorable for the Cougars with Jake Garlick decreasing his season-best time to 14.23. Wingman Nate Rencher finished second in the event, qualifying for regionals with a time of 14.24. Sarah Lacey crossed the line in fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.52.

The 400-meter relay team of Cody Fonnesbeck, Soelberg, Smith and Watkins won their event with a time of 40.56. The team has already qualified for regionals in the event. In the women's 400-meter relay, it was Kelly Furr, Mindy Neeley, Sarah Lacey and Kathryn Sevy finishing third with a team season-best time of 47.47.

Howard, Carter, Martin and Robertson won the men's 1600-meter relay with a time of 3:17.60. The women finished third on their side of the competition, Carlee Clark, Lacey, Firl and Neeley claimed the fame in the race, finishing in 3:57.68.

Several BYU distance runners will be competing tomorrow at the Stanford Invitational. The teams will travel to California next week for competition. For more information about the Cougar track and field program, visit www.byucougars.com or www.byutrack.com.