Byers Advances after NCAA Track Championships First Day

June 8, 2005

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Washington State pole vaulter Tyson Byers was the lone Cougar competitor to overcome the rainy day conditions and advance to the finals of the NCAA Div. I Track & Field Championships at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex at Sacramento State University.

Byers, a redshirt sophomore from Spokane Valley, Wash., advanced from the qualifying round of the men's pole vault to Friday night's final. Byers was one of 13 vaulters to clear both the opening height of 16-feet, 4 3/4 inches (5.00m) and after a one-hour weather delay he cleared the next bar at a height of 16-10 3/4 (5.15m). The Cougar cleared the first bar on his first attempt and the next height on his second attempt. Seven competitors did not clear either height while another seven did not clear the second bar and did not advance to the final. Byers' top clearance this spring is his PR of 17-6 1/2 (5.35m).

'Tyson changed to a bigger pole for the second attempt at 5.15 meters and cleared it by foot and a half,' Cougar jumps coach Kris Grimes said. 'No one looked stronger or faster or jumper better than Tyson did today. I think the final is anybody's to take. There are cross winds blowing from south to north and I think that favors Tyson.'

Darion Powell, a junior from Kirkland, Wash., fouled all three throws in the shot put, the third event of the decathlon, and had to retire from the meet. Powell opened the decathlon with a 100m dash time of 11.48 seconds, and long jumped a wind-aided 22-feet, 6 1/4 inches (6.96m), to be in 11th place of the 25 competitors after two events. Powell was the 2005 Pac-10 decathlon champion and an All-American in the decathlon after a fourth-place national finish in 2003.

'Darion's left foot slipped on his first two throws of the shot put so he changed shoes and managed to get off what appeared to be a legal throw of 46-feet,' WSU Head Coach Rick Sloan said.

James McSwain did not advance from the first round of the men's 100m dash after the junior from Las Vegas ran a time of 10.53 seconds. McSwain, running in the second of three heats, finished sixth in what became the slowest heat of round one. His time was 21st of the 27 runners with the top 18 advancing to the semifinals later Wednesday night. Florida senior Kyle Farmer ran the fastest time of the first round at 10.30 seconds. McSwain's PR is 10.19 seconds from earlier this season.

Neither Cougar javelin thrower advanced from the qualifying round. Senior Rachel Bertholf, from Colbert, Wash., threw 150-10 (45.97m) and was 16th of the 27 competitors while Jenna Dean, a junior from Glenwood, Wash., finished 21st after throwing 144-10 (44.15m). Dean holds the WSU school record in the javelin with her 2005 throw of 169-7 (51.70m).

Cougars competing in Thursday's events include Drew Ulrick in the men's discus qualifying, Jaycee Robertson in the men's 200m first round and semifinals, John Cassleman in the men's 400m hurdles round one, and Tamara Diles in the women's pole vault qualifying.

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