By Lindsey Johnson
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The BYU women”s track and field team returned from the NCAA Indoor Track Nationals, but not empty-handed.
“We set a new school record (distance medley team) and had great marks,” coach Craig Poole said.
The BYU women scored a total of 15 team points, finishing 13th in the nation for the indoor season. LSU won the title, scoring 62 team points.
The women”s distance medley team accomplished a second-place finish and set a new school record with a time of 11 minutes, 6.81 seconds. The old BYU medley record set at last year”s indoor nationals was 11:10.4.
BYU finished behind the University of North Carolina (11:00.2) who placed first in the distance medley team.
The distance medley relay consisted of a 400-, 800-, 1200-meter and mile runs.
Sophomore Jennifer Rockwell, in her first indoor national track appearance, ran the 400-meter split in 54.5.
“It was very exciting,” Rockwell said. “It felt really smooth and good.”
Freshman Aneta Lemiesz ran the 800-meter split in a time of 2:06.5.
“I”m very happy and it”s a great feeling,” Lemiesz said. “The best athletes in the nation are here, and it feels good to be one of them.”
Sophomore Kassi Andersen ran the 1,200-meter split in a time of 3:25.
“I wish I could have run faster,” Andersen said. “I just kept pushing it.”
Junior Michaela Mannova finished the relay with the mile-split time of 4:40.1
“We did the best we were able to do,” Mannova said.” “I”m pleased how we did as a team.”
Not only the athletes were excited, but the coaches also.
“It (the distance medley) was a great race,” distance coach Patrick Shane said. “We have four All-Americans from it. That”s the fun thing about a relay team.”
Distance medley runners Rockwell, Lemiesz and Andersen all earned their first All-American honors and Mannova attained her second All-American honor.
Mannova also earned a fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:11.61.
In the mile run for the Cougars, senior Jaime Cottle finished sixth with her time of 4:43.4.
“I almost fell twice,” Cottle said. “I was bleeding all over my legs from
other people”s spikes, but I think that helped me not focus on being tired. It felt really good at the finish.”
Cottle also earned herself a second All-American honor with her performance in the mile.
Poole said the mile run was “a very physical race.”
Competing in the 5,000-meter run, junior distance runners Lindsey Thomsen and Katie Martin (Sabey) finished 13th and 15th, respectively.
Thomsen finished with a time of 16:26.10 and with Martin followed at 16:37.33.
Senior Nikki Hughes, who has nursed an injured hamstring for the last couple of weeks, hurt her hamstring again on her first jump.
After scratching on her final two jumps, Hughes finished 16th, jumping a distance of 18-03 1/4.
Poole said he was proud of Hughes for sticking in to the end.
The women”s team will prepare this week to compete in the first meet of the outdoor season at the UA Willie Williams Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. this weekend.