Cougars Cruise to Invitational Titles
PROVO -- If the BYU Invitational is any indication, the BYU men's and women's track and field teams are gearing up well for the upcoming Mountain West Conference Championship.
The Cougars ran away with both the men's and women's team titles, with the men winning 13 of the 17 events while the women claimed 12 of 17. The men scored 172.50 points compared to second-place Utah State at 98.50 and third-place Utah Valley State College at 67. The BYU women totaled 231 points, followed by Utah with 139, Utah State with 119 and UVSC with 64.
"We had a great meet -- I was very pleased," BYU men's coach Mark Robison said. "It's good to score. We have done the things we need to do to get ready for the conference and regional meets."
The Cougar men entered Saturday's competition with a commanding advantage and continued to excel as a BYU athlete won seven of the nine events during the final day. Among the highlights for the men included a strong showing in the 4x100-meter relay. Cody Fonnesbeck, Matt Nielsen, Paul Smith and Nate Soelberg completed the race with a season-best time of 40.33.
"Having that performance in the 4x100 was important to us," Robison said. "That will help us in case we don't do as well at regionals."
The Cougars also won the 4x400-meter relay and Fonnesbeck and Smith had the top-two times in the 100 meters. Other BYU event winners on the men's team included David Chesser in the 400-meter dash (47.45), Matt Anderson in the triple jump (14.83m), Dan Arrhenius in the shot put (17.26m) and Kip Kangogo in the 1,500-meter run (3:45.80).
Utah State claimed the other two men's events Saturday, with Justin Wickard winning the 110-meter hurdles (14.27) as the Aggies claimed the top three spots in the race. Aggie senior Robert Crockett took the high jump with a height of 2.07 meters with UVSC's Clifton Palmer finishing second (1.97m).
Cougar coach Craig Poole's women's team also won seven of nine events Saturday to coast to the team title. Poole gave high marks to Cougar performances in the high jump, 1,500-meter run, 400-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay.
"Lindsey (Metcalf) was impressive with her season best on high jump," Poole said. "Our 4x100 recorded its second-best time of the year, Aneta (Lemiesz) had her best time in the 400 meters and we had a great showing in the 1,500 meters."
BYU claimed the top-two finishers in the 1,500-meter run with Jamie Cottle (4:28.71) coming in ahead of teammate Kristen Ogden (4:30.67). Additional event winners for the women included Miriam Fisher in the 100-meter hurdles (14.20), Jennifer Rockwell in the 100-meter dash (12.07) and Lindsey Sommer in the triple jump (11.86m). Utah State recorded wins in the 200-meter dash and shot put as Kathleen Hobbs ran a 200-meter time of 26.03 while Kelli Burton achieved a distance of 15.20 meters.
"This has helped us get ready for the conference meet, which will be very challenging this year with San Diego State considered a favorite." Poole said. "We improved this week and our health is better now. We'll work hard next week and we'll be ready for what will be a very tough conference meet."
The MWC Championships will be conducted May 14-17 in Albuquerque, N.M.