Track Teams off to a Strong Start in Pocatello
POCATELLO, Idaho (January 15) - BYU set the tone for the 2000 indoor season Saturday afternoon, as the men's and women's teams claimed wins in 10 events in the nine-school Snake River Invitational.
The Cougars, competing without many of their most talented athletes, demonstrated good early season form in the first meet of the year. Some of the best talent in the region was showcased on Saturday, including teams from Utah, Utah State, Weber State, Southern Utah, Ricks, Nazarene College, Montana, and host Idaho State.
In men's action, three returning All-Americans picked up right where they left off last season, provisionally qualifying for the NCAAs. Sprinter Slade Combs recorded a time of 7.90 seconds in the 60 meter hurdles, shot put specialist Jim Roberts tossed an impressive 61'-2", and Jeff Hansen and Alan Gulledge shared the pole vault title by clearing 17'-4". Other champions included Marc Chenn in the high jump (6'-9"), Thobias Akwenye in the 200 meters (21.92), and Kenneth Andam in the 60 meters (6.74).
"We had some excellent performances today," said men's head coach Willard Hirschi. "Our sprinters ran very well, especially for the first outing. I'm delighted with our progress. We have a week off now and the team is looking very good."
On the women's side, some new faces showed promise for the Cougars. University of Nebraska transfer Becky Beachler won the shot put with a toss of 48'-4", Trinidad native Anna-Lee Walcott leaped 18'-8.5" in the long jump to place third, and freshman Misty Jorgenson took second in the 60 meters with a time of 7.85. Event winners included Jolee Gillespie in the 800 meters (2:13.75), Sherida Rogers in the mile (5:04), and Jeana McDowell in the high jump (5'-8"). The 4x400 team also claimed victory, winning the event by more than seven seconds.
Women's head coach Craig Poole was more than pleased with his team's effort. "It was a good meet for us. There was nothing to really jump up and down about, but we had some bright spots that are indicative of things to come. The competition was a good icebreaker, so to speak. It's as good of a start as we've ever had," said Poole.
Both teams will now have the week off before returning to Pocatello to compete in the Idaho State Invitational January 28. In other action on a busy weekend of track, the men will send a portion of their team to the Air Force Invitational January 29, while the women will send representatives to the Illinois Invitational January 28-29. In addition, both teams will participate in the Utah State Invitational January 29.