By DREW PACKHAM
BYU senior Leonard Myles-Mills set a new NCAA record in the 60-meter dash on Saturday at the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Myles-Mills finished with a time of 6.45 seconds, 0.05 seconds faster than the 12-year-old record.
Myles-Mills’ performance in the 60 meters, along with his first-place finish in the 200 meters (20.61 seconds), earned him two spots at the NCAA Championships and an award for Outstanding Athlete of the Meet. His performance led the men’s track and field team to its tenth-straight WAC indoor title.
Head coach Willard Hirschi, whose efforts earned him the title of WAC Coach of the Year, put Myles-Mills’ accomplishments into perspective.
“There isn’t anything bigger collegiately,” Hirschi said. “Leonard was just sensational.”
Myles-Mills, who is struggling with a bone chip in his knee, is the defending national champion in the outdoor 100-meter dash and said this national record makes all his pain worthwhile.
“This feels great,” Myles-Mills said. “All the workouts and pain are paying off right now. I don’t know what to say, but the fun goes on.”
Also doing well for the Cougars was sophomore shotputter Jim Roberts, who recorded a personal best of 61 feet, 11 and 1/2 inches. That was enough to earn him second place in the WAC and a trip to the NCAA Championships.
“There’s a part of me that’s disappointed I didn’t win,” Roberts said. “But I had an excellent meet and hopefully I’ll be able to peak at nationals.”
Junior Marc Chenn added a second place finish in the high jump with a mark of 7-00.50, while Shae Taylor took third at 6-09. Sophomore Mao Tjiroze, who had been laid up several weeks with an injury, came back strong to finish third in the 800 meters with a time of 1:54.11.
Sophomore Kenneth Andam, who before the meet guaranteed a title, backed up his word by winning the long jump on Friday with a jump of 24’03.50. In his attempt, however, Andam was injured when he landed and was not able to compete in either the 60 or 200 meter races on Saturday.
Another bright spot for the Cougars was junior Matt Poulsen. In the 5,000 meters, he came in second with a time of 15:22.07 and placed fifth in the 3,000 to pile up points for the team.
“This is the best conference in America and we’ll go from the best to, literally, a pathetic situation. Next year it will be like kissing your mother-in-law.”
— Willard Hirschi, Head coach
The Cougars dominated the meet with a team total of 134 points. The next closest team was Texas Christian with 92 points. Saturday’s competition completed three days of track and field events and marked the last WAC Indoor Track and Field Championship for BYU, which will be joining the newly-formed Mountain West Conference next year.
While Hirschi was pleased with this year’s title, his team’s future remains in limbo, as the WAC breakoff leaves the conference in disarray.
“It takes the luster off of this year,” Hirschi said. “This is the best conference in America and we’ll go from the best to, literally, a pathetic situation. Next year it will be like kissing your mother-in-law.”
The men’s team will next compete at the NCAA Indoor National Championships on March 5-6 in Indianapolis, Ind.