Track & field finish in top at NCAA West Regional

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By Sarah Gardner

The BYU men”s track & field team finished third at the NCAA West Regional on Saturday, May 29, just 2.5 points behind second-place USC. The BYU women finished fourth behind UCLA, USC and Stanford.

“I couldn”t be happier,” BYU men”s coach Mark Robison said in a news release. “With just an adjustment here or there, we would have finished second real easily. The kids came here and really went after it. We have qualified several guys for nationals and now have a chance to make some noise [at nationals] with so many kids going. It”s going to be fun.”

In order to advance to the NCAA National Outdoor Championships, athletes had to finish fifth place or better. The Cougars qualified a total of 17 athletes this weekend, including 10 men and seven women.

Sophomore Kamila Rywelska, from Pastek, Poland, led the women”s team with a championship performance. She claimed the only individual title for the women, winning the triple jump with a distance of 42-08.

“Going into the competition, I was so scared because this is so important to me internationally,” Rywelska said. “I was afraid to scratch, and I did after my first jump. But after the second jump, I felt much better. I didn”t expect to do this well; I am very happy.”

Nathan Robison and Bryan Lindsay ran an exciting 1,500 meter race with a one-two finish. Robison led almost the entire race from wire to wire, while Lindsay ran at his own pace in the back of the pack.

Lindsay was second to last with 300 meters left in the race, then kicked it up a notch.

“My speed has never been better,” Lindsay said in a news release. “When you start to make that charge, you just wonder what you have left in the gas tank. Sometimes you”re lucky, sometimes you”re not. My prerace plan was, with a lap to go, be in a position to make a move. I knew I had enough left with 300 meters to go and I kept going.”

Kassi Andersen and Michaela Mannova both qualified in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a two-three finish, respectively. Andersen marked a personal record at 9:44.68.

“The tricky part of the steeplechase is that you don”t want to be too close to everyone because they get in the way,” Andersen said. “When you are going against each other, you have to determine where you want to be position-wise so you have an advantage instead of being stuck behind. So its tricky when everyone has similar times.”

Junior Lars Kjerengtroen qualified in the 800 meters by the skin of his teeth. After finishing the race, Washington”s Todd Arnold was first announced to have the fifth-place finish and the final athlete to advance to nationals in the event. A photo finish revealed, however, that Kjerengtroen had edged Arnold by one-thousandth of a second. As a result, Kjerengtroen earned the fifth and final qualifying spot.

Despite sustaining a broken bone in his throwing wrist, freshman Niklas Arrhenius finished second in the discus with a toss of 184-05. Older brother Dan Arrhenius will accompany his brother to nationals after finishing fourth with a season-best mark of 144-10.

Other qualifiers include freshman Amy Menlove, who will represent the Cougars in both the long jump and the 100-meter hurdles, and junior Lindsey Metcalf, who finished in fifth place in the high jump.

Senior Greg Flint will advance after placing third place in the 400 meter hurdles, and Robison Pratt finished second place in pole vault. Rodrigo Mendes also picked up valuable team points and earned a trip to nationals with a second-place performance in the triple jump.

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