Cougars Begin Track Season at Snake River Open
POCATELLO -- BYU started off the indoor track season Saturday with the men's and women's teams combining for wins in seven events at the Snake River Open at Idaho State University. The meet gave the Cougars their first look at some of the competition in their region as teams from Weber State, Utah State, Montana State, Utah Valley State College, and the University of Utah participated in the event.
On the men's side, senior Jim Roberts scored one of the most impressive individual finishes of the day. With a heave of 64 feet 4.75 inches in the shot put, Roberts surpassed the NCAA automatic qualifying standard by more than a foot. Sprinter Kenneth Andam recorded an NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the 60-meters (6.67), outrunning two-time NCAA 100-meter champion Leonard Myles-Mills for a first-place finish. Other event winners for BYU included Kish Beverly in the 400-meters (48.08), and Slade Combs in the 60-meter hurdles (8.10).
"We had a good meet for our first one," said BYU men's coach Mark Robison. "The biggest challenge was coming back so soon after the holiday break, but we had several good performances today. Jim threw well, Kenneth had a good run, and the whole hurdle group ran outstanding."
The BYU hurdle group Robison referred to took five of the six spots in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles, and claimed the top four places in the event. Combs was followed by teammates Russell Elggren (8.23), Trent Ady (8.24), and Curtis Pugsley (8.28), who took the second through fourth places, respectively. Daymon Visser finished in sixth place (8.41) as Utah State's Brett Guymon (8.28) was the only runner in the final not from BYU. Pugsley, an All-American decathlete, had a busy day for the Cougars. In addition to his performance in the hurdles, he finished in fifth place in the pole vault (16'00"), fourth in the high jump (6'09"), and fourth long jump (21'08.5").
On the women's side, the Cougars recorded wins in three events, and scored second-place finishes in four events. Sophomore Misty Jorgensen won the 60-meters in a time of 7.79 seconds, and finished second in the 200 meters with a time of 25.56. Senior All-American Melanie Steere finished third in the 800 meters (2:13.81) and then came back to win the mile in 5:00.48. BYU took four of the top five places in that event, as Tara Haynes finished in second (5:02.83), Jolee Gillespie finished fourth (5:04.04), and Sherida Rogers came in fifth (5:07.52).
Anna-Lee Walcott was the other event winner for the Cougars, leaping 18'05.5" to take the victory in the long jump. Melissa Dyer cleared 11' 6" in the pole vault, coming in second only to world record holder and Olympic gold medalist Stacy Dragila, who vaulted 15'00" to win the event. Cathy Fuailimaa finished second for BYU in the women's weight throw with a toss of 58'08.75".
Both teams will have two weeks to prepare for their next event, as the Cougars return to action Jan. 26-27. The men's team will send several athletes to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to compete in the Air Force Invitational, while the women's team will send competitors to the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis. Both teams will also be represented at the Idaho State Invitational in Pocatello, Idaho, and at the Utah State Invitational in Logan, Utah.