Brigham Young University will have 10 competitors from its men's and women's track and field teams competing in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships that get under way today in Des Moines, Iowa.
The four-day event involved more than 1,000 athletes from across the country who will come together for the chance to win a national championship. The Cougars had seven automatic qualifiers for the event, plus three other athletes who received at-large invitations. Seven of the Cougars are from the men's team and three on the women's side.
"I think the thing that is good is that they all have a chance to make it to finals," said men's head coach Mark Robison. "If we can do that, then most of them will be All-Americans and score points for the team. But for that to happen, we will have to have a really good Wednesday."
All of the Cougars' men will have their preliminaries today and, if they fare well, they will advance to the finals, which will take place on Friday. Other events have a Thursday-Saturday schedule, but the Cougars will wrap up their competition a day early.
BYU sophomore Leif Arrhenius will enter the discus competition with the longest throw in the nation so far this year at 207 feet, 1 inch. At the NCAA West Regional two weeks ago, he struggled to an 11th-place finish, but BYU is hoping he can rebound from that to have a successful performance this week.
"I think (Arrhenius) is fine. He has practiced well this week, he just didn't have a great meet at regionals," said Robison. "It is going to be getting through the preliminary round that is important, but I am excited and he is, too."
True freshman Chase Dalton will make the trip to Iowa and holds the 25th-best mark in the country in the javelin throw. Seniors Chandler Goodwin and Derek Taylor will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Goodwin finished third at the NCAA West Regional two weeks ago, and Taylor finished fourth.
Junior Kyle Perry will compete in the 5,000 meters and currently is ranked 16th in the nation with a time of 13 minutes, 54.06 seconds. Bob Low and Matt Weirich will both compete in the pole vault, as Low enters the competition ranked ninth.For the BYU women's team, sophomore Angela Wagner will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after winning the 2008 West Regional. Wagner is ranked fourth in the nation with her time of 9:58.68. Senior Carlee Clark-Platt will enter the 800 meters ranked 10th nationally, and senior Ashley McAllister will compete in the pole vault after a fourth-place finish at regionals.
The University of Utah track and field team is sending two athletes to compete at the national championships.Chelsea Shapard earned an automatic bid in the 400-meter hurdles after taking third at the West Regional meet with a time of 59.12. Shapard was also the Mountain West Conference champion in the 400 hurdles. Josefin Berg, Utah's other competitor at nationals, won an at-large bid in the hammer throw.
Weber StateWeber State will send three athletes to the national meet. Sariah Long goes into the steeplechase event ranked sixth in the nation with a time of 9:59.63. Morgan Haws enters the 10,000-meter run with a best time of 33:53, putting her in 10th overall. Seth Pilkington is the lone guy for the WSU men's team who will be making the trip, as he is currently ranked in seventh place in the 10,000 meters.
Southern UtahSenior Mark Currell will represent Southern Utah at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in the 5,000-meter run after a fifth-place finish at the West Regionals. Currell's time of 14:11.29 was only six seconds off the school record.