Boise State's Mattias Jons and Simon Wardhaugh put the hammer down on the competition at the NCAA West Regional Track and Field Championships today. The pair finished 1-2 to highlight the first day for the Broncos in Provo. Jons broke his own regional record with a tremendous toss of 225 feet, breaking his existing record by nearly three feet to win the competition. Wardhaugh was seeded seventh coming into the weekend, but set a personal best of 216-4 to take second. Adam Midles of USC was third with 214 even.
Jons and Wardhaugh automatically qualified for the NCAA National Championships, which will be held June 7-10 (Wednesday-Saturday) in Sacramento, California. The top five individual finishers in each event advance to nationals.
The pair's 18 points in the hammer propelled Boise State to fourth place with one day of competition remaining.
Arizona leads with 44 points, followed by #2 UCLA with 29, host BYU with 21 and then Boise State. Oregon is in fifth with 14 points, then its fellow PAC-10 member Washington with 14, pre-meet favorite USC is a surprising seventh with 12 points, the same as Stanford.
It was not a two-man show for Boise State despite some opening day disappointments. Jackieann Morain finished second in her heat to qualify for the finals in the women's 400 meters. Morain, who covered the distance in 53.60 seconds, was bested only by Nashonme Johnson of Stanford, who was clocked in 53.42. Jackieann, who is already assured of points in the event, will run in the finals tomorrow afternoon at 3:30.
Senior Antoine Echols took third in his heat of the men's 400 and just qualified for the finals with a time of 47.75. Echols will step on the track right after Morain's final at approximately 3:40 tomorrow afternoon.
The day was not without heartbreaks. Boise State, which was projected to finish ninth in the West Regionals, lost four points when discus thrower Staffan Jonsson, the #5 ranked discus man in the country, did not finish #5 as expected. He suffered two fouls on his last two throws and had to take his first toss, which was only good for 21st. Eleni Kafourou, who was a top five seed in the women's long jump, fouled on all three attempts and thus failed to record a distance. Sterling Small, a qualifier in both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles, suffered an injury and was unable to compete in either event. Wijnand Rijkenberg also failed to reach the finals in the 1,500 meter run after placing seventh in his heat with a time of 4:02.33.
In other final events today, Ty Axtman finished 12th in the men's 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:36.05 and Becky Guyette finished 17th in the women's 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:37.50.
Bronco supremacy in the javelin will be tested today in Provo. Keron Francis is favored to win the event, and he'll have teammates Nate Putnam and Scott Viafore pushing him as well. The javelin final begins at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. Kafourou will try to recover from her long jump with an entry in the women's triple jump final tomorrow at 3. Two other Broncos expected to score points, Eleni Ypsilanti and Annika Hjelm, will compete in the women's hammer finals beginning tomorrow morning at 10.
Erik Whitsitt is yet another Bronco competing tomorrow. He'll participate in the shot put finals beginning at 1 P.M