NEW YORK CITY – Nachelle Mackie and Christen Guenther had record-breaking performances to lead the BYU women’s track and field team to a second place team finish at the prestigious New Balance Invitational.
"We had a great meet this weekend, both on Friday and Saturday," BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. "We are so proud of our girls for bringing it to New York this weekend. We are happy to come out and get second because there was some great competition here. We edged out national powers from LSU, Texas A&M and Baylor, which is great for our program."
Mackie won the 800 meters in an NCAA-leading time of 2:03.56. Her time broke the school record set by teammate Lacey Bleazard in her national championship win in 2009. Mackie’s time also broke the New Balance Invitational record for the 800m.
Guenther soared over 4.30m (14-1.25) in the pole vault and finished second in the event. Her mark broke the BYU record that was set last season by Rachel Fisher. The mark currently ranks sixth in the NCAA.
The performances by Mackie and Guenther paced the overall team effort at the meet. The Cougars scored 64 points as a team, a score that trailed only Clemson and earned the BYU women their third consecutive top two finish at the meet.
Senior Katie Palmer competed well alongside Mackie in the 800m and finished second in the event. Palmer crossed the line in 2:03.79, a mark that would rank atop the BYU and meet record boards if Mackie had not also broken both records in the same race. Palmer’s time also ranks second in the nation and trails only Mackie’s time.
Palmer also excelled in the 1000m race, an event in which she placed second in a school record time of 2:44.78. Senior Lacey Bleazard finished third in the race in 2:47.66 while Sarah Edwards, the defending champion in the event, finished fifth in 2:49.35.
Palmer, Bleazard, Edwards and Mackie combined their talents to break a 25-year old school record in the 4x800m. The four combined to finish in 8:37.97, over 18 seconds faster than the second place team.
BYU will split its squad between the Air Force Invitational and the Husky Classic on Feb. 10-11. The distance runners will head to the Husky Classic while sprinters and jumpers will compete at Air Force.
CLICK HERE for final results from the New Balance Invitational.