TRACK: Three of BYU's top women distance runners improved their marks Saturday at the Stanford Invitational, giving them a good chance to make the 1500 meter field at the NCAA Championships in Oregon in late May.
Ashley Monahan and Maggie Chan made the biggest improvements. Monahan jumped from a previous-best of 4:24.10, a low provisional mark to a time of 4:21.36, a mark that almost assures her of making the NCAA field and Chan went from a time of 4:25.46 to 4:21.77. The two finished sixth and seventh in the field of top collegiate and international runners, but were second and third among just the college runners.
Melissa Teemant, BYU's third entry into the 1500, had a time of 4:24.74, just over her previous best of 4:24.25. Courtney Pugmire, the Cougars' freshman sensation, was unable to make the trip because she was part of the Olympic Torch Relay in Salt Lake City, Friday. Her best time of 4:23.32 is in the middle of the provisional times and may or may not be good enough for herto make nationals.
"We're the only team in the country that five athletes with qualifying marks in one event (the 1500)," Cougar distance coach Patrick Shane said.
Janeth Caizalitin Alder, running her first outdoor 3000 this year, won the race with a high provisional time of 9:25.80, which should be good enough for her to reach the NCAA field.
Alder has an automatic qualifying time in the 5000 and high provisionals in both the 3000 and 1500.
SOFTBALL: Ali Andrus became Utah's all-time leader in shutouts, posting the 33rd of her career in the opening game of the Utes' doubleheader sweep of Southern Utah that likely ended Utah's season.
Andrus (16-13) held the Thunderbirds to just two hits and struck out six as Utah cruised to a 10-0 win in five innings.
Cyndee Bennett, who was named the team MVP in a post-game ceremony on Denior Day at Ute Field, belted a two-run homer, her ninth of the season, to cap a four-run fourth inning for the Utes. Bennett went 4-for-6 on the day.
Monica Jimenez (12-7) gave up just one earned run and struck out five in a 10-3 victory in the second game.
Utah (32-22, 17-7 WAC) finished third in the WAC and has an outside chance at an NCAA bid. Southern Utah (13-46, 1-27) placed eighth in the conference.
UVSC BASEBALL: Utah Valley State College won the Region 18 baseball championship for the second time in three years with a 7-4 victory over Treasure Valley Community College Saturday in Twin Falls, Idaho
The Wolverines got good pitching performances from Ryan Sprague and Greg Lindsay. Sprague threw shutout ball for the first three innings before allowing a couple of unearned runs in the fourth. Lindsay, who pitched all three days in the tournament came on and threw six full innings, allowing just two runs.
"We didn't really intend to go with Lindsay that long, because he had already thrown twice," said UVSC coach Steve Gardner. "But he just kept getting better as he went along. I was ready to make a chance when I went out in the seventh, but he said he felt great."
In the third Mike Wood unloaded a solo home run to UVSC up 3-0. Wood went 4-for-5 on the day and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. He hit .594 for the tournament with a home run and six RBI's.
The Wolverines improved to 29-19 on the year. UVSC advances to the District Tournament in Trinidad, Colorado, next Thursday and Friday.