LARAMIE, Wyo. - The University of Wyoming track & field team heads south on Friday for the Don Kirby Invite at the Albuquerque Convention Center, hosted by the University of New Mexico. The Convention Center features a 200-meter banked track and is also the site of the 2017 Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships, so this weekend’s meet will provide a group of Pokes some pre-championship experience on a banked track for the first time this indoor season.
A whopping 40 teams will converge in New Mexico for the invitational. Athletes from Mountain West squads Colorado State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV and Utah State will be competing. Ja'la Henderson enters the meet with her sights set on a school record in the women’s long jump after the sophomore star cleared the 20-foot barrier for the first time in her career at the Colorado Open. Her mark of 20-0.5 trails former Cowgirl Patricia Miller by just 4.5 inches for the school record, which was set nearly 40 years ago. Henderson trails UNLV senior Ayana Gales by just 2.5 inches for the Mountain West lead in the event. Gales is entered in the long jump alongside Henderson this weekend. Day Timberman, who has won the triple jump two consecutive times to begin her 2016-17 indoor campaign, will compete for Wyoming in the event in Albuquerque.
Jerayah Davis, who is currently tied for 10th in the NCAA in the 60 meters, will compete against some of the nation’s top runners in the event in Albuquerque. National leader Hannah Cunliffe of Oregon, who posted a time of 7.13 at the Columbia East-West Challenge earlier this season, will run against Davis on Friday. Cunliffe’s time is five hundredths of a second faster than any other sprinter in the NCAA this season. Davis will also face off against Cunliffe’s Oregon teammates Deajah Stevens and Makenzie Dunmore, who are also ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA for the event.
Seniors Jordan Charles and Scott Carter will see national competition in their events for the first time this season. Charles is entered in the 60-meter hurdles and 200 meters, while Carter is entered in the long and triple jumps. Caleb Seeton joins Carter in the long jump competition. Dynamic middle distance duo Ricky Faure and Bryce Ailshie, who hold the No. 4 and No. 6 spots, respectively, on UW’s all-time list for the indoor 800 meters, will also compete against a high level of competition at the Don Kirby Invite. Ailshie is coming off an indoor career-best 1:50.64 at the Colorado Open, which moved him from No. 7 to No. 6 on the Pokes’ all-time list. Three Cowgirls will also compete in the distance events this weekend - Lauren Hamilton in the mile and Cassidy Meade and Kerry White in the 800 meters.
The Don Kirby Invite will begin on Friday at 3:30 p.m. MT and will continue throughout Saturday. The last scheduled track event with Wyoming entrants is the women’s 800 meters, which is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday. A live stream of this weekend’s action is available on FloTrack, and fans can follow live results as well.
Pokes Look to Take Advantage at Don Kirby Invite Once Again
The Don Kirby Invite was a bright spot in Wyoming’s 2015-16 indoor season, and many Cowboys and Cowgirls will look to repeat impressive performances from last season’s meet when they return this weekend. Ricky Faure won the 800 meters at last season’s meet with a time of 1:51.58, while Bryce Ailshie was fifth at 1:53.16. Jerayah Davis was third in the women’s 60 meters with a time of 7.36 seconds, which was her personal record before the 2016-17 season. Lauren Hamilton was fourth in the mile at last year’s meet, running 4:51. Cassidy Meade was sixth in the 800 meters, posting a time of 2:11.84.
Jumpers Excelling Under Quincy Howe
Wyoming’s jumps athletes are having an incredible season under jumps coach Quincy Howe. Scott Carter leads the conference comfortably in the men’s triple jump, while Caleb Seeton is fifth in the long jump and Carter is seventh. Wyoming has two of the top four women’s long jump marks in the MW thanks to Ja’la Henderson and Jerayah Davis, while Day Timberman is ranked sixth in the women’s triple jump after competing in just two meets so far this season. Howe’s own indoor triple jump mark of 54-9.25 is still tops in Wyoming history by well over two feet.
The Pokes will return home to host the Rocky Mountain Classic in Laramie on Friday, Feb. 19, before heading back to Albuquerque Feb. 23-25 for the 2017 Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships.