IRVINE -- Sean Richardson secured the best javelin mark in the United States this season and the second-best throw in BYU history as the Cougar track and field team began the outdoor season at UC-Irvine on Saturday.
Richardson’s throw of 70.82 meters bested the junior’s personal record by 15 feet and was 18 meters better than the second-place competitor.
Phillip Bettis, the Mountain West Conference champion in the heptathlon, finished third in the javelin, throwing 52.27 meters.
“It was a fabulous day,” said BYU head coach Mark Robison. “It was a great start and the weather was just perfect.”
Walk-on James Ghormley came out of nowhere to come up big for BYU after joining the team in between seasons. In his first meet as a Cougar, Ghormley showed off his sprint speed with a first-place finish in the 100 meters, finishing in 10.73. Chris Little took sixth in the same event with a time of 11.02.
Ghormley also placed fifth in the 200 meters, one of two events won by Rhyan Atrice. Atrice won the 200 meters with a time of 21.67 while also claiming the best time in the 400-meter dash. The sophomore led a pack of Cougars, winning the event in 47.68 seconds.
BYU runners also took the four through seven spots, with James Derek McAllister, Kevin Biesinger, Steven Hart and Sean Adams finishing in that order.
“There were a lot of pleasant surprises,” Robison said. “I’m just really pleased in our first meet of the year how it turned out. I couldn’t be happier with our first start.”
Sweeping the top four spots in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Richard Nelson leading the way with an 8:56.65 time. Ryan Merriman came in two seconds behind, followed by teammates Reagan Frey and Josh Adams.
A slew of Cougars added their names and the top of their events. Kyle Mills won the triple jump after breaking his personal record by more than a foot. Chris Little leaped to his own heights in the pole vault, reaching 17-04.50, just ahead of teammates Tanner Emrich (17-00.75) and Tyler Brown (16-00.75).
Danny Lawson earned top honors in the discus, finishing with a meet-best throw of 54.03 meters to win by a comfortable four-meter margin.
In the high jump, MWC indoor champion Trevor Heiner just beat out fellow Cougar Michael McConkie, jumping 6-10.75 to McConkie's 6-08.75.
Aaron Powell placed second in the long jump with a best of 7.29 meters. Jonathan Ferguson, Mills, and Anse Myller DeAraujo took fourth, sixth and seventh.
Bryan Payne in the 400-meter hurdles went for second with 52.46 while Kevin Ahlstrom took fourth. Brian Weirich placed third in the 800 meters at 1:51.59.
The team will against visit California with a trip to the Stanford Invitational next weekend.
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