By MELANIE BRIDGE
For anyone in the vicinity of BYU’s outdoor track on Friday and Saturday, the most common phrase heard was … “and the winner is BYU.”
The BYU women’s track and field team won 14 of the 20 events, leading the Cougars to a 298 point total and a first place finish in the Cougar Invitational.
Amy Palmer was up against Dawn Ellerbe, whose American and Collegiate record she broke last weekend in Texas, in the hammer throw. Again Palmer won out with a throw of 216-4. Palmer continued to have a great meet, winning the shot put with a throw of 54 3/4, and taking second in the discus.
The Cougars continued to score points in the field events. In the long jump, Kirsten Bolm won with a distance of 19-6 1/4, and Tiffany Lott took second place. Lott also won the javelin with a throw of 163-6 3/10. Pole vaulter Becky Jackson cleared her best height ever at 12-6 3/4, which also won her the event.
“They measured wrong and I cleared 12-6 when I thought it was 12-1,” Jackson said.
In the triple jump Kristel Berendsen jumped a distance of 42-6 1/4 to win the event and qualify for the provisionals. Jeanna McDowell cleared 5-9 1/4 to win the high jump.
“I have a new approach and it worked well,” McDowell said.
In the running events the Cougars did just as well as in the field. The relay team of Windy Jorgensen, Bolm, Berendsen and Milena Alver started Saturday with an electrifying win in the 4×100-meter relay.
Lindsay Jones came from behind on the home stretch to win the 800-meters with a time of 4:29.34. In her first meet since the World Cross Country Championships, Tara Rohatinsky won the 3000 meters with a time of 10:04.66. Teammate Kara Ormond came in a close second.
“The last two weeks have been really intense. I had workouts harder than this race,” Rohatinsky said. “I could have even run faster.”
When the 110-meter hurdles event was announced, fans and photographers streamed to the finish line to see an exciting race. Lott did not disappoint, winning in a time of 13.36. In the 100-meters, BYU took first and second, with Jorgensen at a time of 11.81 and Alver close behind.
Jorgensen again won in the 200-meters. Her time of 24.45 led a near BYU sweep of the event, as the Cougars came in first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth. Again a BYU relay team closed out the Invitational the same way it began. This time the 4×400 team of Alver, Jackson, Ashley Westphal and Angie Poulsen won in an exciting come-from-behind victory.
There were several factors that led to the Cougar dominance of the meet. One was the intense workouts they’ve had in preparation for the meet. Another was the great weather. Sun and over 70 degrees are perfect, Rohatinsky said. Running on their home track was a nice change of pace too.
“I love running at home, there are no airports, no flights, the redshirts and fans can be there, and you know you get to go home when you’re through. It’s great,” Westphal said.
BYU ran against several teams from the inter-mountain West, including Utah, UVSC, Ricks, Northern Colorado, Utah State and Weber State. Knowing the competition and what to expect was helpful, Westphal said.
The Cougars will be in action again next weekend at Louisiana State.