Szmuda and Wood qualify for Nationals

STANFORD, Calif. (May 30, 2003) - In addition to BYU's qualifiers in the multi events and 10,000 meters, two more Cougars have earned invitations to the NCAA National Championship meet in two weeks.

Junior Missy Wood and senior Aron Szmuda will join the team in Sacramento, Calif., after finishing fifth in their respective events on Friday at the NCAA West Regional. In addition, over 20 athletes will compete on Saturday during the final day of competition at Stanford University's Cobb Track and Angell Field.

Wood qualified for the National Championships with a fifth-place finish in the javelin. A junior from West Jordan, Utah, Wood was credited with a mark of 155-10 in the event.

Szmuda, the MWC Outdoor long jump champion, turned in a distance of 24-04.25 to earn the region's final spot for the National Championship meet.

Finals will be contested in several events on Saturday, including eight more field events and 20 running events.

The men's relay team, Cody Fonnesbeck, Nate Soleberg, Matt Nielsen and Paul Smith started the day off with a second-place performance in the first heat of the 4x100-meter relay, recording a time of 40.16 to qualify for Saturday's final. The Cougars finished the relay behind USC, which turned in a heat-winning time of 40.42.

In third place entering the final exchange, Smith, a freshman from Las Vegas, turned it up a notch to outdistance UCLA down the home stretch. When the final results were posted, it was announced BYU had been disqualified because of an improper exchange. After an appeal to the meet managers, the ruling was overturned, and the foursome was reinstated.

Jamie Cottle (4:24.92) and Anika Smith (4:27.75) advanced to Saturday's finals in the women's 1,500 meters, while Bryan Lindsay and Nathan Robison will be the only qualifiers in the 1,500 for the men. Kangogo, the pre-race favorite, finished 14th overall and did not qualify for Saturday's final. However, having posted the top mark in the nation earlier this season, Kangogo will received an at-large invitation to the National Championships.

Aneta Lemiesz successfully qualified in the 800 meters with a heat-winning time of 2:06.01, while Lars Kjerengtron and Chad Simkins qualified for Saturday's final in the men's 800 meters. Kjerengtroen finished third in the first heat with a time of 1:50.28 and will enter Saturday's race as the 6th ranked competitor. Chad Simkins also finished third in his heat, completing the course in a time of 1:50.05. He will compete on Saturday ranked 5th in the 800-meter finals.

The BYU women will look to pick up points in the 400-meter hurdles on Saturday after Anita Nygard and Jennifer Rockwell qualified for the finals. Nygard finished second in heat no. 5, while Rockwell made a surge at the finish line to win her heat.

In the men's 400-meter hurdles, both Russ Elggren and Greg Flint advanced, as expected. Flint finished second in the fourth heat with a time of 51.53. Elggren, who's brother competed in the same event for Utah State, was third in the fourth heat with a time of 52.16. Flint will enter Saturday's final ranked fifth, while Elggren ranks seventh.

All totaled, the Cougars are qualified in 12 different events for Saturday's finals and will look to move up in the standings, as expected. Following four scored events in women's competition, the Cougars are currently in 10th place with five points.

Stanford leads the competition with 45 points, followed by Arizona State with 16 and UCLA with 14. The Cardinal picked up 24 points in the 5,000 meters with a 1-2-3 finish. In the men's competition, BYU is currently in 12th place with four points. Stanford leads the competition with 46 points, while UCLA (26 points) is in second, followed by USC (23).

Total Blue Sports Top Stories