Cougars bring home titles after two-meet division this weekend

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BYU track and field had a busy weekend, with some athletes traveling to Austin, Texas to compete in the Texas Relays, while also participating in the UVU Invitational on Friday.

Although several Cougars took the weekend off to rest, several track and field athletes stepped up to bring home event titles and winning marks from both events.

Christen Guenther, in a personal outdoor-best performance, tied the women’s outdoor school record in pole-vault with a jump of 4.25 meters.

“She ended up tied for fifth place in a field of really, really good girls,” women’s pole-vaulting coach Eric Rasmussen said. “The girl who won was attempting the national collegiate record.”

Texas Relays is known for bringing in good pole-vaulters from all over the country Rasmussen said. Both Guenther and Rachel Fisher competed in the A-standard competition, hosting the best of collegiate pole-vaulters from across the nation.

Texas is also well-known for hosting various, unique relays. The men’s relay team, consisting of Chris Carter, Rhyan Atrice, Derek McAllister and Cade Lindahl, finished first in the finals in the 4X400 meter relay.

After finishing first in the preliminaries, BYU was planning for a good race in this event.

“It came down to the final leg,” Derek McAllister said. “We were down by thirty meters, then he [Cade Lindahl] passed them at the very end, and we won.”

McAllister noted the large amount of support for their team when Lindahl crossed the finish line. Due to the competitive nature of the meet, only those qualified by rank could participate. The Cougars competed against many teams on the same track that will host regionals in two months.

“I would say, in this time of the year, this is the best competition we have seen all year,” McAllister said.

The Cougars’ presence at this meet helped to increase the identity of BYU runners.

“Not a lot of people know about BYU track,” McAllister said. “People are starting to get to know us.”

While a handful of Cougars competed in one of the most competitive meets in the country, most Cougars stayed in Orem for a low-maintenance meet.

Competing against local schools like Utah State, Weber State and a few schools from Colorado, many Cougars red-shirted or performed unattached to get in more practice before bigger upcoming meets.

“Running wise, we had a lot of kids perform unattached so they could finally get in a meet,” men’s head coach Mark Robison said.

With many athletes returning from missions, local meets like this weekend provide Cougars practice to gauge where they stand after three years away from competing.

However, many Cougars, freshman and seniors alike, performed well and earned winning titles for their performances. Brianna French, a freshman from Vacaville, Calif., posted a career best in a winning performance in the discus. Melissa Keltner, a junior from Chino Hills, Calif., also posted a career best mark in the long jump as well as in the triple jump.

“Oh it [this meet] was great, so we can have some training to get in and use kids’ eligibility to see what the plan is,” Robison said.

The Cougars will look to continue the outdoor season as they travel to California for the Stanford Invitational, an event that will begin on April 6.

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