By Sam Scorup
BYU men”s track and field placed among the top teams at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Arkansas on Friday and Saturday, March 10-11, 2006.
The distance medley relay team and pole vaulter Robbie Pratt each brought home second-place finishes.
Coach Mark Robison was upbeat about the meet”s outcome.
“We performed even better than we were ranked,” Robison said. “I feel great about it.”
Pratt challenged his rival, Thomas Skipper of Oregon, to the end, but was on the short end of a tie-breaker. Both athletes cleared 18 feet, 6.5 inches, but Skipper won by having fewer missed attempts.
The quality of the competition was not lost on pole vault coach Larry Berryhill.
“It was a classic battle between the two best pole vaulters in the country and Robbie came up second, but with a great height,” Berryhill said. “When you have two national champions competing against each other, that”s pretty intense.”
In the distance medley relay, Jacob Gustafsson ran the 1,200-meter opening leg , before handing off the baton to Ben Gardner, who ran the 400 meters. Jason Dorais ran his usual distance of 800 meters, followed by mile specialist Josh McAdams, who ran the anchor leg of 1,600 meters.
When all was said and done, the team had completed the race in near-school record fashion. Their time of nine minutes, 37.92 seconds earned second place. Last year”s distance medley relay, which also featured Dorais and McAdams, took seventh place at nationals.
The runners felt rewarded for their efforts.
“It”s such a thrill to do as well as we did at a national competition,” McAdams said. ” It took a lot of determination and hard work, but in the end everyone just did their part and did it well.”
Four-time Mountain West Conference champion David Pendergrass tied for 12th in the high jump with a mark of 6 feet, 11.75 inches.
Arkansas won the men”s team national title. Texas prevailed in the women”s team competition. BYU”s men tied for 12th.
In addition to the pole vault, Pratt was also busy away from the track. On Sunday, he and his wife, the former Lisa Antonelli-who ran distance for BYU-spoke at a two-stake fireside in Arkansas. Youth and parents were invited.
Pole vault coach Larry Berryhill expected a large gathering for the meeting.
“We”re going to have to use the overflow,” Berryhill said.