It was a freshmen-shining, record-breaking day at the track as the Cougars hosted the track and field Y Invitational Saturday.
"This is our best meet of the season and our people did some really good things," women's coach Craig Poole said. "The athletes did some things that are indicative of our future being very bright. We're on the freeway going fast in the right direction."
Mandy Kelly Lonsway laid it on the line and cleared it in the air to set a school record with a jump of 13 feet 5.25 inches in the pole vault to win the event. That height currently ranks in the top-10 jumps in the nation.
Freshman Whitney Neves kept the momentum flowing with a win in the men's competition. Neves' height of 17 feet 6 inches also puts him among the nation's top-10. His teammates, Bob Low and Matt Weirich finished second and third, both going to a height of 17 feet 3/4 inch.
Three distance women added their names to the list of BYU regional qualifiers. Ann Heiner took second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:58.37 for her ticket to regionals. Michelle Lindsay and Challis Firl took first and second in the 800 meters with times of 2:09.77 and 2:10.04, respectively, to qualify with altitude adjustment.
The men's 3,000-meter steeplechase faired well in the Cougar's favor with sophomore Derek Taylor crossing the line in first with a time of 9:31.16. In the 1,500 meters, Jacob Gustafsson showed his dedication to the Cougar cause with a regional-qualifying time 3:50.55. Freshman Miles Batty also qualified in the race with a time of 3:51.90. Chandler Goodwin finished third in the race. Fellow freshman Kyle Perry won the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.59.
"It was the freshmen day today and I was so pleased," men's coach Mark Robison said. "The day ended up a whole lot better than I thought it would when I woke up."
The speed-seeking sprinters found their way to make an impact with Mindy Neeley finishing first in both the 100 and 200 meters. Neeley's times of 11.97 and 24.63 are both season bests for the freshman. The men's sprinting squad was missing several key athletes, but Paul Smith did manage to take the win in the 200 meters with a time of 21.30.
The hurdles added highlights for both teams. Nicole Nevitt had a personal best in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:02.05. She also added a personal record in the 100-meter hurdles, coming in third behind BYU's second-place finisher Sarah Lacey, who finished with a time of 14.48.
The men hurdlers saw Chris Carter, Ben Gardner and Jake Garlick to regional-qualifying times and a first through third finish. Carter had the top time of 50.92. Garlick also finished third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.28.
For the women's throwing squad, Tiffany Arrhenius won the shot put with a throw of 42 feet 3.25 inches. Teammate Aubrey Cowan came in with a second-place finish and a throw of 38 feet 3.5 inches. BYU's Sarah Butler threw for 132 feet 1 inch in the discus. Butler also had BYU's top javelin performance with a regional-qualifying throw of 145 feet 11 inches.
The other field events had favorable outcomes as well with freshman standout Mindy Neeley jumping 19 feet 1.5 inches for a first-place long jump finish and teammate Kathryn Sevy just behind in third with a height of 18 feet 3.75 inches. In the high jump, Liis Berendsen took third with a height of 5 feet 3 inches.
The men aced several of the jumping events. Anderson won the triple jump with a jump of 49 feet 2.5 inches. He then returned to finish second in the long jump with a season-best jump of 23 feet 1.25 inches. Boian Marinov rounded out the top three of the event with a jump of 21 feet 5.5 inches.
The men took the top three spots in the high jump with David Pendergrass taking the win with a height of 7 feet 1/2 inch. Trevor Heiner and Ammon Dahl came in just behind with Heiner qualifying for nationals.
The relays added depth to a successful day with the 400-meter relay of Kelly Nesbit-Furr, Mindy Neeley, Sarah Lacey and Kathryn Sevy taking first with a season-best time of 46.78. The women took second in the 1600-meter relay after a late Weber kick gave the Wildcats the win. Julie Andersen, Michelle Lindsay, Challis Firl and Nicole Nevitt took the team to a season-best time of 3:49.80.
The men's 1600-meter relay teams took first and third in the event with times of 3:13.24 and 3:16.94.
The Cougars will return home in two weeks for the three-day Robison Invitational. For more information about the BYU track and field program visit www.byucougars.com and www.byutrack.com.