Records are Set at Track Season-Opener
PROVO -- A successful home opening meet for the BYU men and women’s track teams is now complete after two days of competition in the Smith Fieldhouse at the BYU Cougar Indoor Invitational.
Athletes from BYU, Utah, Utah Valley, Weber State and Southern Utah participated in the annual BYU meet with the intention of testing their off-season training and establishing themselves on this years depth charts.
“It is usually a low-key event, but our athletes took it seriously and the results showed,” said BYU throwing coach Dick Legas. “Most of our marks would be good enough to get us into conference, which is incredible considering it is the first event of the year.”
The meet certainly favored the Cougars, as there were several records and national qualifying times set by the BYU women and men.
For the women Deezbaa Whaley performed exceptionally well in the weight throw, recording the fourth best throw in BYU history (57-00.25). Junior Amy Menlove continued to strengthen her BYU track resume with provisional national qualifying marks in the long jump (20-01.75) and in the pentathlon (4048), which ranks third best on the BYU all-time pentathlon records list.
Mindy Neeley-McClurkin also had a strong showing with a provisional national qualifying mark in the pentathlon (3823) and a first place finish in the 60m (7.62).
The future looks bright for BYU freshmen sisters Nachelle and Natalie Stewart, Nachelle took first in the 300m (39.66), while Natalie won the 400m (55.10) and both teamed up for a meet record in the 4x322m relay (2:54.71) with fellow teammates Menlove, and sister Diane Stewart.
Craig Poole, who is entering his 29th year as head coach of the women’s track team, was pleased with the results.
“This meet was without question the best opening meet we have ever had,” Poole said. “I couldn’t have been happier. I thought it was an all-around great effort, with everyone performing at a very high level.”
BYU men’s track head coach Mark Robinson was equally impressed by his team’s
“Today was another good day,” Robinson said. “I was very pleased with the way our athletes performed today. For our first week of competition this was an accomplishment for us.”
After Friday’s results were filled with best performances and meet records, the Cougars hoped to return from day two with more victories and top performances. Fortunately, the athletes’ hard work paid off.
In the triple jump, freshman Aaron Powell set a new meet record with a distance of 49 feet 3.5 inches. Freshman Kyle Mills placed second with a distance of 43 feet 9.75 inches.
In the high jump Trevor Heiner placed first with a height of 6 feet 8.75 inches, followed in second-place by BYU’s Wes Collett, clearing a height of 6 feet 4.75 inches.
Kyle Perry placed first in the one-mile race with a time of 4:12.24, second and third-place finishes went to Miles Batty with a time of 4:12.41 and Jason Witt, 4:16.25.
Freshman Rhyan Atrice brought the 400m home for the Cougars with a first-place finishing time of 48.65. He was followed by junior Bryan Payne in second with a time of 49.17 and third-place Taylor Pebley from Weber State with a time of 49.3.
Gaining yet two other first-place spots for BYU were Drew Foster in the 800m and Brandon Hebbert in the 3000m. Foster completed the 800m in 1:55.48; second and third place finishes went to two unattached runners. Hebbert completed the 3000m in a time of 8:30.42, with second and third place going to BYU sophomore’s Regan Frey, 8:37.57 and Nate Ogden, 8:38.68.
The BYU track teams will travel to Pocatello, Idaho to compete in the ISU Invitational next weekend.
Track Opens Season with Solid Start
PROVO -- The first day of the indoor track season was the best in recent memory for the BYU men’s and women’s teams as they competed at home in the Cougar Indoor Invitational.
Athletes from BYU, University of Utah, Utah Valley, Weber State and Southern Utah competed in various events filling the Smith Fieldhouse, all eager to see where their opening marks would place them early this season.
“I thought we did great,” said BYU women’s track head coach Craig Poole. “It was one of the best opening days we’ve had in a few years. There is room for improvement, but I think the BYU track community has a lot to look forward to this season.”
With several top finishes on the opening day, Cougar fans have reason to believe this year will be special. Junior All-American Amy Menlove led the way for the Cougars taking first in the pentathlon (4,048 pts), while fellow BYU All-American Mindy Neeley-McClurkin finished second (3,823 pts), closely followed by teammate Mindy Robins in third place (3,324 pts).
“I thought we did really well today,” said Menlove. “I was a little nervous at the beginning because it was the first meet of the year, but I’m very happy with my results.”
The women’s track success continued with sophomore Deezba Whaley, who placed first in the weight throw with a career-best distance of 57-0.25. Utah rounded out the top three in the weight throw with second- and third-place finishes.
And while the BYU women’s team had a strong showing, the Cougar men competed at an equally high level.
“The key in this sport is to just get a little better each time,” said BYU men’s track head coach Mark Robison. “It’s important to just get going and then each week have incremental changes.”
For some Cougars on the men’s team these changes will place them at new heights and distances they have never before reached.
Such individuals include junior All-American Leif Arrhenius, who surpassed his past marks in the shot put and weight throw. He placed first in both events, with a distance of 65-07.50 in the weight throw and 60-02.50 in the shot put, giving him a new personal best.
Daniel Lawson was second in the shot put with a distance of 56-07.25; Oliver Whaley was second in the weight throw with a distance of 53-07.0.
The Cougars also performed well in the pole vault as seniors Robert Low, Brad Ellertson and Whitney Neeves swept the top three spots. Low had the best vault of the night clearing a height of 17-00.75, followed by Ellertson and Neeves in third.
In the heptathlon, Philip Bettis, Meelis Kosk and Brett Birkland swept the top three spots with a score of 2,980 points for Bettis, 2,925 points for Kosk and 2,637 points for Birkland.
The Cougar Invitational will continue tomorrow in the Smith Fieldhouse with the first event starting at 10 a.m. MST and is expected to finish at 4:30 p.m. MST with the men’s 4 x 1 lap relay.
BYU Cougar Invitational
Saturday, January 10
Men’s Heptathlon (2nd Day)
10:00 – 60mH
10:35 – PV
12:30 – 1000m
12:00 – Triple Jump (W)
1:00 – Pole Vault (W)
1:00 – High Jump (M)
2:00 – Triple Jump (M)
2:30 – High Jump (W)
(Running start times tentative.
We will go ahead of schedule if possible)
12:45 – 60mH Trials (M)
1:05 – 60mH Trials (W)
1:25 – 60m Trials (M)
1:35 – 60m Trials (W)
1:50 – Mile (M)
2:00 – Mile (W)
2:10 – 60mH Finals (M)
2:20 – 60mH Finals (W)
2:30 – 60m Finals (M)
2:35 – 60m Finals (W)
2:40 – 400m (M)
2:50 – 400m (W)
3:05 – 800m (M)
3:15 – 800m (W)
3:25 – 300m (M)
3:35 – 300m (W)
3:55 – 3000m (M)
4:10 – 3000m (W)
4:20 – 4 x 1 Lap Relay (M)
4:30 – 4 x 1 Lap Relay (W)