Batty, Arrhenius Lead BYU into Nationals
The 2011 Men’s National Track Athlete of the Year leads No. 10 BYU this week into the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Cougars’ Miles Batty (6-0, 150 Jr.) will be the odds-on-favorite to win the 1,500-meter run, an event in which his time of 3:36.25 is the NCAA’s fastest this season by more than three seconds.
In fact, his time is the third fastest in the country by a professional or amateur, and is less than a second off the current NCAA record. His performance also smashed the school record of 3:38.31 set by Bryan Lindsay in 2005.
Batty headlines a BYU contingent of eight men who will compete at the NCAA’s at Drake University this Wednesday through Saturday.
Miles has placed himself at the top of the list of great 1,500-meter runners at BYU, one that includes Lindsay, Doug Padilla, Paul Cummings, Jason Pyrah, Josh McAdams and Kip Kangogo.
In March, the junior from Sandy, Utah was recognized as the country’s top male track athlete by the Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association following a stellar cross country season and after winning the mile at the NCAA Indoor National Championships, and anchoring the BYU distance medley relay team as it captured the national championship as well.
That target on his back has helped keep Miles focused as he prepares for nationals…
Perhaps BYU’s next best chance of capturing an individual national championship this week lies with thrower Leif Arrenhius (6-4, 255 Sr.).
Leif is the only BYU athlete to qualify for the championships in two events. He will be competing in both the shot put and the discus in Des Moines.
The senior from Provo is looking to follow in the footsteps of his father Anders and brother Niklas, who were both All-American throwers at BYU. Niklas won the NCAA championship in the discuss in 2007 with a throw of 206 feet, two inches.
Earlier this year Leif won the indoor national championship in the shot put, but he believes his best chance of winning an outdoor title this week could come in the discus, where his personal record is a throw of over 207 feet…
Following nationals, Leif says he will begin to turn his focus toward making the 2012 Olympics, something that has been a dream of his for most of his life.
Also competing for BYU on the men’s side are three pole vaulters — Chris Little, Tanner Emrich and Victor Wierich. Trevor Heiner will represent the Cougars in the high jump, while Justin Hedin will run in the 800 meters and Jacob Cosby will compete in the 3,000-meter steeple chase.
The BYU women’s team is lead by Lacey Bleazard, the reigning indoor national champion in the 800 meters, while sprinter Porsche Giddings becomes BYU’s first female athlete since 1998 to compete at the NCAA’s in the 100-meter dash.
Indoor All-Americans Ada Robinson and Diana Blauer will represent BYU in the high jump, while Katie Palmer will join Bleazard in the 800 meters. Morgan Haws will compete in the 10,000 meter run, the longest distance event at the meet.
You can catch selected events from the NCAA Championships on the CBS Sports Network on Friday from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm MT, and on Saturday from 11:00 am to 1 pm MT.
Click Here to subscribe to Deep Shades of Blue.