BYU athletes perform despite wind and weather

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    By DREW PACKHAM

    Four BYU men’s track athletes traveled to Austin, Texas, this weekend and came away with some top honors at the Texas Relays, one of the most prestigious outdoor meets in the country. At the same time, the rest of the team battled the wind and weather in Las Vegas to win the Las Vegas Invitational.

    In front of a crowd of over 20,000 in Texas, sophomore Jim Roberts earned a third-place medal in the shot put and Marc Chenn came away with a ninth-place finish in the high jump.

    Also doing well for the Cougars at the Relays was Jim Gough, who placed ninth in the discus with a throw of 178 feet, 2 inches. The mark was a personal best for him. Roberts also placed in the discus with a toss of 178 feet, good enough for 10th. Hammer thrower Doug Bryant also traveled to the Relays, but did not place.

    Assistant coach Mark Robison said it was a good weekend for the team, especially Roberts.

    “He beat some really great people on the national scene,” Robison said. “His distance wasn’t great, but his place was really good.”

    Roberts wasn’t the only one proving his worth in Texas, though. Chenn jumped 7 feet, 1/4 inch, to land him a ninth-place spot. For Chenn it was a good measuring stick for where he stands on a national level.

    “You know you’re against good competition when they start at seven feet,” Chenn said. “I know I can jump with those guys and I feel like I’m on the rise, so that’s nice.”

    While the four field athletes were enjoying a humid Texas, the rest of the team struggled through a wild, windy weekend in Las Vegas … a meet coach Willard Hirschi said was tough for his team.

    “It was one of those character building meets where you just try to survive,” Hirschi said. “Under the circumstances, though, we performed really well.”

    The Cougars came away with first-place finishes in the 100-meter dash, the 200, 800, and 1,500. Kenneth Andam won the 100 and Clayton Patch took the 200, with Thobias Akwenye placing second. In the 1,500 meter, the Cougars got a surprise victory from Nathan Harrison, as he won the event despite a strong headwind. Rounding out the action for the team was Jeff Hansen, who won the pole vault with a jump of 17 feet.

    Hirschi is hoping for better weather next Saturday, as the Cougars will host their first home meet of the year, the BYU Invitational.

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