Eight Cougars Advance at NCAA Championships

Eight Cougars Advance at NCAA Championships

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SACRAMENTO, Calif.(June 6, 2007) -- BYU advanced eight athletes into the finals after one day of action at the 2997 NCAA National Outdoor Track & FIeld Championship. Chandler Goodwin, Amy Fowler and Kassi Andersen set new personal-best marks in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

"It's been a good start for our team," BYU men's head coach Mark Robison said. "It's tough to see some of our athletes not make it into finals, but they are up against some of the best competition in the country. I think everyone of our athletes is giving it all they have."

DecathlonJustin Palmer took third place in his heat with a time of 11.13 seconds in the 100 meter. That time gave him 832 points and put him in eighth place after one event. In the long jump, Palmer jumped 21 feet 7.5 inches on his first jump. His second jump wasn't an improvement, but his third jump was a foot better at 22 feet 6.25 inches for 781 points. He finished with 1,613 points dropping to 11th place after two events. The shot put helped Palmer move up the ranks to eighth place with his throw of 43 feet 6.5 inches. He scored 684 points, bringing his total after three events to 2,297 points. Palmer's second throw, which was his farthest, was tied for the eighth longest throw of the competition. In the high jump, Palmer cleared 6 feet .50 inches for 661 points. He had no misses on the first six heights. Palmer ran the 400 meters in 52.14, scoring 719 points to finish with 3677 points at the end of five events. The decathlon will continue on Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m.

Women's Pole Vault Ashley McAllister did well and cleared 13 feet 1.5 inches on her first attempt. She only knocked the bar down once in the three heights that were attempted by the field. McAllister will continue competition on Friday at 6:15 p.m. Kelly Furr had a hard time compensating for the wind and getting her steps down. She was unable to clear a height in the preliminaries.

Women's 800 meters Michelle Turner ran strong in the first round of the 800 meter preliminaries. After 200 meters she was just off the shoulder of the leader and remained there until the 400 mark, where she took the lead. At 600 meters she relinquished the lead, only to take it back briefly at 700 meters. It was a sprint to the finish and Turner finished fourth with a time of 2:06.51. She will compete again on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in the semifinals.

Women's Long Jump Mindy Neeley improved with every jump, but did not make it into the finals. She over stepped the board on her first jump, then jumped over 19 feet on her second jump. Her third and farthest jump was 20 feet 0.25 inches. She finished in the top-20 in the nation in the long jump.

Men's Pole Vault Matt Weirich kept his All-America hopes alive, by advancing to the finals in the pole vault. He cleared 16 feet 10.75 inches. He cleared the opening height, which stopped four hopefuls. The second height eliminated six more vaulters, but Weirich cleared it and will compete again Friday at 6:15 p.m.

Men's High Jump Four-time MWC Champion David Pendergrass advanced to the finals in the high jump by clearing the opening height and the second height of 6 feet 10.75 inches. Pendergrass cleared both heights on his first attempt. Fourth-place finisher at the 2007 West Regional meet, Bryce Bergen, was unable to move on to the next round. He failed to clear 6 feet 8.75 inches, a height that stopped four jumpers with season-best marks over 6 feet 10 inches. Bergen cleared 7 feet 1 inch when he took second place at the MWC Championships.

Men's Discus Niklas Arrhenius had the eighth longest throw in the discus and will move on to the finals on Friday. He had two throws over 190 feet. His first throw was 193 feet 2 inches, which was his best throw, and then his last throw was just over 190 feet.

Men's 3,000-meter steeplechase Chandler Goodwin ran a tough 3,000-meter steeplechase that featured a tight pack for five of the seven-lap race. Goodwin was right in the middle of it all for the first four laps. Then he moved into fifth place momentarily during the fifth lap. The positions of the leaders shifted a lot the next two laps, and Goodwin sprinted to a sixth-place finish, just missing the automatic place in the finals. As a restult of his season-best mark of 8:41.7, Goodwin managed to advance to the finals on time.

Women's 3,000-meter steeplechase Amy Fowler had the fastest time for the Cougars in the 3,000-meter steeplechase coming into the National Championships. She had a heat that featured two of the top-10 fastest steeplechasers in the history of NCAA competition. The competition pushed her to a season-best time of 10:01.19. She held her own and kept right with the leaders in the fourth position through six laps. Fowler never let the leaders get too far away and finished in the fifth place position, assuring her spot in the finals on Friday.

Former National Champion in the steeplechase, Kassi Andersen ran in the second heat that also featured the second and third fastest collegiate steeplechasers ever. She started in the pack through the first two laps. Andersen moved up a couple spots during the third lap, keeping the leader within 10 yards. By the fifth lap, Andersen was in fourth and only five yards away from the leader. At the gun lap, Andersen was the third member of the lead trio that was pulling away from the pack. Andersen held on to the third spot giving her an automatic bid in the final and a new season-best time of 10:04.75.

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