BYU men’s and women’s track teams both came home with top 15 finishes in the 2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships over the weekend, 11th for the women and 14th for the men. BYU also finished in the top 10 in every event it competed. Many Cougars came home with All-American honors, while one came home as a national champion.
Nachelle Mackie won the women’s 800-meter race with the fastest NCAA 800 time of the season, recording a 2:03:30 time. This time not only was the NCAA best season time, but Mackie also broke the school record for the 800.
Mackie had the third seed, with teammate Katie Palmer with the first seed, going into the 800 finals after the preliminaries Friday. However, Mackie stepped it up in the finals to bring home a national title.
“I took the lead early and although it wasn’t necessarily the position I wanted to be in initially,” Mackie said. “I just kind of realized no one else was going to take is so I needed to take it. Once I was in the lead I told myself that I wasn’t going to let anyone take it from me. It’s so exciting to be able to fulfill a dream.”
Mackie and Palmer received All-American honors for their performances in the 800. They, along with Sarah Edwards and Lacey Bleazard, placed sixth in the distance medley relay.
However, not all performances went as smoothly as the athletes anticipated.
Perhaps one of the most exciting and anticipated events going into nationals was the men’s distance medley relay. After a successful performance two weeks ago at the MPSF Indoor Championships, where the medley team broke BYU’s old record, put them in position as the team to beat at nationals.
However, the team was far from first when Batty was handed the baton. With three events going into nationals, Batty proved his hard work once again on the track as he finished a gutsy anchor leg, passing four teams to finish the race in third overall.
Unfortunately, the effort expended in the relay may have been a setback for his remaining individual races. After finishing first in the preliminaries of the mile on Friday, he came in a close third in the finals with a time of 4 minutes, 1.86 seconds.
“Yesterday he ran two seconds faster [in the mile in the distance medley relay with a split of 3 minutes, 57.90 seconds] than the winning time today,” men’s head coach Mark Robison said. “He missed first place by two-tenths of a second.”
Despite the final results, Robison was proud of Batty’s effort in his three performances.
“He ran incredibly hard,” Robison said. “Yesterday took too much out of him; he had to run too fast in the distance medley relay.”
With the conclusion of a successful indoor season, Robison is looking forward to the longer outdoor season with new events like the javelin and 400 hurdles.
“I’m pleased with them,” Robison said. “We had a good indoor season, we will just see how outdoors will play out … it changes a lot.”