Men's and Women's Track Capture MWC Championship
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Championship Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colo., was owned by BYU, whose near perfect performances earned both the men’s and women’s track and field teams the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championship titles.
The No. 15 BYU women’s track team had little issue securing the conference championship on Saturday. The Cougars held a comfortable lead on Friday and created more separation on the final day of competition.
“It was an excellent team effort,” said BYU women’s track and field head coach Craig Poole. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of our supporting staff, coaches and athletes.”
BYU won the meet with 224 points, TCU earned second with 117 points and Colorado State placed third with 61 points. Poole was awarded MWC Coach of the Year, while Amy Menlove was named the high point champion with 30 points.
Junior All-American Menlove set the tone for the Cougars, winning the 60-meter hurdle event. Menlove beat out last years MWC Champion Kishelle Paul of TCU with a provisional qualifying time of 8.365.
Continuing the Cougar dominance were the BYU milers, who took first through fourth earning the Cougars 31 total points in the event.
Junior All-American Angela Wagner repeated as the 1-mile MWC Champion with a time of 5:13.93. Sophomore All-American Katie Palmer finished right behind in a time of 5:14.46. Freshman Lacey Cramer took third (5:15.22) and sophomore Anna Sperry rounded out the top four with a time of 5:17.72.
Within 30 minutes Cramer and Palmer were back on the track for the 800-meter event. The two teammates appeared to be fresh, as they grinded out a first and second place finish for the Cougars. Cramer took first finishing a step ahead of Palmer with a provisional qualifying time of 2:10.00. Palmer’s provisional qualifying time of 2:10.28 was more than a second faster than Utah’s Chelsea Shapard who took third.
Wagner would also return to the track and win the 3,000-meter title. The South African native took an overwhelming lead in the last 400-meters winning the event in a time of 10:01.49. Junior Cecily Lemmon followed Wagner for a second place finish in a time of 10.05.32.
Freshman Nachelle Stewart carried the momentum into the 400-meter dash taking third with a time of 55.19.
The high jumping squad built the Cougar lead taking first and second in the event. Freshman Diana Blauer cleared 5-08.75 for the title and freshman Ada Robinson took second (5-08.75).
BYU finished the meet off with a solid third-place performance in the 4x400-meter relay. Junior Diane Stewart, senior Sandra Mazan, freshman Nachelle Stewart and sophomore Emily Dunn combined for a time of 3:51.44.
“We as coaches could not be more proud of the performances of our athletes,” said throwing coach Dick Legas. “They stepped up and did what they were supposed time and time again.”
“This meet was as outstanding a meet as we’ve had in a long time,” said BYU men’s track and field head coach Mark Robision. “The women scored the exact same number of points as the men, so that’s amazing.”
Coming off day three, the No. 18 BYU men’s track and field team won the meet tallying wins in three events for a final score of 224 points, with Robision being named MWC Men’s Coach of the Year. The Cougar men have not scored that many points in the Indoor Championships in at least 30 years. New Mexico came in second with 102 points, followed by Air Force in third with 91 points.
Leading the shot put with a throw of 57 feet 10.5 inches, junior All-American Leif Arrhenius cleared the first place spot by nearly three feet. Junior Danny Lawson brought home a second-place finish with a distance of 55 feet even.
Following the shot put duo, senior All-American Kyle Perry and sophomore Miles Batty kept the pattern going strong in the mile run. Staying neck-and-neck for most of the race, the two finished first and second with Perry sprinting to first in the last stretch with a time of 4:21.04, while Batty came in second with a final time of 4:21.52.
Robert Low’s first-place finish in the pole vault tallied the third event brought home by the Cougars. Landing a final distance of 17 feet 7.25 inches, Low edged past second-place Nick Frawley from Air force by four inches.
In the triple jump, Aaron Powell came in first for the Cougars and third overall with a solid distance of 48 feet 11.75 inches.
Kevin Biesinger had a strong performance in the 400-meter, closing in third with a final time of 47.94.
Representing the distance side of the competition, BYU stepped up and finished in pairs in the 800-meter. Third and fourth place went to senior All-American Jacob Gustafsson in 1:52.06, while junior Brian Weirich placed fourth in 1:52.36.
In the 3000-meter, BYU had a third through sixth-place sweep with senior Stephen Shay coming in first for the Cougars with a time of 8:34.03, followed by sophomore Brandon Hebbert (8:35.59), John Kotter (8:36.82) and Nathan Ogden (8:40.07).
The track and field teams compete in their last meet of the season before heading to College Station, Texas to represent BYU at the NCAA Indoor l Championships. Next week’s Last Chance Invitational will be held in South Bend, Ind. on Saturday, March 7.
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