Sun Sparks Best Marks for Cougars
TEMPE -- Personal bests were set and athletes qualified as the track and field teams competed at the Arizona State Invitational Friday and Saturday.
"We had a good meet overall," BYU coach Mark Robison said. "The conditions were ideal and the guys did really well. We improved quite a bit from last week."
Several men wasted no time in qualifying for NCAA Regionals. All-American thrower Niklas Arrhenius qualified in both the discus (203 feet 4 inches) and shot put (56 feet) at the meet. Newcomer Chris Reno won the javelin with a throw of 218-7 to qualify. Fellow freshman Blaine Baker also qualified in the javelin, finishing third in the event with a personal best of 214.
High jumper David Pendergrass qualified for Regionals as well with his event-winning jump of 6-10 3/4 (2.10 meters). Freshman Whitney Neves took second in the pole vault with a team season-best height of 16-6 3/4 inches to qualify.
On the track, the 4x100 team of Paul Smith, Todd Watkins, Cody Fonnesbeck and Nate Soelberg won its event with a qualifying time of 40.38 seconds. Smith also narrowly missed the 21.19 200-meter qualification, running it in a time of 21.29.
Jake Garlick and Ben Gardner took second and third, respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles to qualify. Garlick finished in 52.17 and Gardner in 52.26. Garlick also qualified in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.28. Freshman standout Kyle Perry won the 1,500 meters with a meet-record time of 3 minutes 45.34 seconds, easily qualifying for the big meet.
Devin Howe also competed well for the Cougars, winning the decathlon at the Jim Click Combined events in Tucson, Ariz., Friday. Howe narrowly missed a provisional qualification for Nationals with his personal-record performance of 6,902 points.
Many women also qualified for Regionals with their meet marks.
"It's been beautiful weather and an all-around good second meet," BYU coach Craig Poole said. "We hope to continue improving and keep moving in the right direction and doing really well."
The jumpers proved profitable for the Cougars at the meet. Kamila Rywelska found the golden ticket to Regionals in the triple jump, finishing second with a jump of 41 feet 1 inch. Mindy Neeley qualified in the long jump, also finishing second with a length of 19-9 3/4. Kristin Hirst jumped to a new personal record in the high jump with a height of 5-7 to take second.
Mandy Lonsway pole vaulted her way to qualification with a third-place finish in the event and a height of 12-5 1/2. Leli Fotu took sixth in the hammer throw with a season-best throw of 174-3.
The 3,000-meter athletes were also successful with six Cougars finishing in the top 10 in the race. Crossing the finish line in second was BYU's Amy Fowler with a time of 9:49.52. Rena Chesser and Anne Heiner were third and fourth, respectively, across the line.
The Cougars will compete in their first home meet Friday. For more information about the BYU track and field teams visit their Web sites at www.byucougars.com and www.byutrack.com.
Cougars Off to Arizona
PROVO -- The Cougar track and field teams will gravitate towards the sun this weekend as they compete in Tempe, Ariz. at the second meet of the season.
The weekend will begin early for the decathletes as they compete at the University of Arizona Decathlon Thursday and Friday. The rest of the Cougar men and women will follow them to Arizona and will compete at Arizona State University Friday and Saturday.
"The second meet of the season should be a whole lot better for us," Coach Mark Robison said. "We're hoping the weather's a bit better than last week and there's some really good competition."
Looking forward to the weekend, great things are in the wings for the throwing squad. Not only did two new talented freshmen, Blaine Baker and Chris Reno, finish second and third in the javelin at their first collegiate meet in Arizona last weekend, but also throwing threat Niklas Arrhenius completed his indoor season redshirt and is back in full force.
In his first meet of the season last weekend, Arrhenius threw the discus for 204 feet 7.5 inches, among the top-10 All-time BYU throws and currently one of the farthest throws in the nation. And the season's only just begun. Arrhenius, a graduate of Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, will throw both discus and shot put at ASU. He hasn't competed in the shot put since he took the title in the event at the MWC Outdoor Championships in 2005.
With the whole outdoor season ahead of them, both teams are looking forward to top performances in the upcoming meets. The first of five 2006 home meets will be next week. Provo will also play host to the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships and NCAA Regionals.
Results will be posted following Saturday's competition.