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DES MOINES, Iowa (June 11, 2008) -- Weather conditions were less than ideal at the opening day of the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Field events during the morning's competition were delayed over three hours due to heavy rains, and by the start of the last event of the day -- the men's 5,000 meters -- there were severe thunderstorm, tornado and flood warnings for much of Des Moines and surrounding areas.
"The winds were horrible in the javelin and the discus," BYU head men's coach Mark Robison said. "There was some humidity that may have effected things today as well, but a little like the weather, we really haven't looked very good today."
All 10 members of the BYU track & field team competed at the 2008 NCAA Championships today at Drake University in Des Moines. Following is an event-by-event look at today's competition.
In his first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships, true freshman Chase Dalton came up with his best toss on his third and final throw in the javelin competition to finish 17th in today's qualifying round. Entering the competition ranked 25th in the nation, Dalton, a native of Tigard, Ore., failed to make Friday's final round by just under one meter.
"Coming in he was ranked 25th," Robison said. "So, to finish 17th, we're pleased. Chase did a nice job today and we're pleased with how he finished the season."
After a three-hour rain delay, Dalton threw 60.15 meters on his first attempt and bettered that mark on his second throw, earning a distance of 61.95 meters. Dalton moved from 18th place to 17th place on his final attempt, throwing 62.56 meters (205' 03").
After a three-hour rain delay, sophomore Leif Arrhenius cruised to a second-place finish in the qualifying round of the men's discus competition. As the nation's top-ranked athlete in the event, Arrhenius advanced to Friday's final round of competition with a best mark of 190' 00.
"Leif looked great," Robison said. "He looked like his old self. I was really, really pleased with his performance today. I think he's in great shape to finish well in the finals."
Colorado State senior Jason Schutz won the qualifying round with a best mark of 190' 08". Arrhenius, a native of Orem, Utah, and Swedish Olympic hopeful, holds the best mark in the nation this year with a throw of 207' 00".
Men's Pole Vault
In the men's pole vault competition, senior Matt Weirich and junior Bob Low both cleared 5.10 meters; however, both failed to clear 5.25 meters and tied for 16th in the qualifying round seven other athletes. Only the top-15 athletes advanced to the finals after clearing 5.25 meters.
"I'm really not sure what went wrong for Matt and Bob," Robison said. "They had a nice tail wind, but they just didn't vault very well and came up a little short."
Women's 800 Meters
Senior Carlee Clark-Platt won the third of four heats in the preliminary round of the women's 800 meters in a time of 2:06.10. Clark-Platt's time ranked second in the field of 36, trailing only Tennessee's Phoebe Wright who ran 2:06.10.
Clark-Platt is one of 16 athletes who will compete in the semi-final round of the 800 meters on Thursday. The finals will be held at 3:19 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday.
Women's 3,000-meter Steeplechase
In the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, BYU junior Angela Wagner finished third in the first of two heats to advance to Friday's finals. Wagner turned in a time of 10:12.28 to earn an automatic pass to Friday's final.
Colorado's Jennifer Barringer, the nation's top steeplechaser, took an early lead and never let up. By the time the race ended, Barringer, who owns the fastest time on U.S. soil in the event, had a 50-meter lead on the next group of runners. In that group, Wagner held off SMU's Silje Fjortoft through the first 2,200 meters then the competition between Wagner and Mica Land of Wichita State began. With one lap remaining, Wagner held third place behind Land, but reeled her in and took second place at the water jump. Wagner held her off down the home stretch and then with an automatic place wrapped up, she eased off the accelerator with 20 meters remaining to take third place in the opening heat.
Wagner will advance to Friday's final with the fifth fastest time from today's preliminary.
Women's Pole Vault
In the preliminary round of the women's pole vault, senior Ashley McAllister cleared 4.00 meters (13' 01.50"); however, she was unable to clear the next height (4.10 meters) and failed to advance to the finals.
Men's 3,000-meter Steeplechase
In the first of two heats in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase -- a heat that featured three returning All-Americans -- BYU's Chandler Goodwin and Derek Taylor finished ninth and tenth, respectively, failing to qualify for Friday's finals.
"Chandler said he felt really heavy," Robison said. "I'm not sure if it was the humidity or what it was. Both guys just didn't have it -- there wasn't anything in the tank."
Goodwin finished in a time of 9:06.33, and after a strong start, Taylor finished in a time of 9:07.65. Overall, Goodwin and Taylor finished 20th and 22nd in the field.
Men's 5,000 Meters
After finishing second at the NCAA West Regional in the men's 5,000-meter competition two weeks ago, junior Kyle Perry finished seventh in the first of two heats with a time of 14:37.00. At the bell lap, Perry held eighth place and slowly reeled in Oregon's Carlos Trujillo with 100 meters to go to finish in seventh place.
With the top-six athletes earning an automatic bid to Friday's finals, Perry had to wait for the second heat to run in order to find out if he had earned a place in the finals on time. Unfortunately, Perry finished 17th overall -- one place from qualifying for the finals.
Following the second heat of the 5,000 meters, Drake Stadium was evacuated due to weather. Fans were encouraged to seek shelter.