Feb. 27, 2008
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -
Led by some magnificent diving, the Wyoming swimming and diving team is currently in first place and the Cowgirls are in second after the opening day of the 2008 Mountain West Conference Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Cowboys tallied 116 team points during the opening day to lead all six MWC teams. UNLV is currently in second (96) and are followed by TCU (94), Air Force (88), BYU (82) and Utah (58). On the women's side, the Cowgirls scored 102 team points and trail only BYU who scored 111 points. Colorado State is currently third (87) and lead Utah (78), UNLV (74), New Mexico (61), TCU (59), San Diego State (55) and Air Force (36).
"This was a good first night and is a step in the right direction," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "The divers lead the way today and did some great things. They are so important to this team and that was very evident today."
The Wyoming divers stood above the rest of the conference on Wednesday as six UW athletes finished in the top-seven of their event. In men's three-meter diving, all four UW divers reached the finals to score major points for the Pokes. Freshman Mark Murdock led the way as he placed second with a score of 338.10. That score matches his personal best from earlier this season as the fifth highest in the UW record book. Freshman Kyle Bogner was close behind with a third place score of 307.10. Sophomore Tyler Miller placed fifth (303.30) and freshman Colter Yancey was seventh (281.65).
In women's one-meter, sophomore Stephanie Ortiz placed second with a score of 271.00 and senior Brittany Wainwright placed third with a mark of 265.70. Sophomore Emily Huth won the consolation final with a score of 259.35.
"We had a very good day on the diving boards and were able to score a lot of points for the team," said UW diving coach Ben Herdt. "To have four guys in the finals and score 58 team points is a tribute to the kids' hard work and dedication. Our goal today was to get all four guys into the finals, so it feels very good to achieve that.
"On the women's side, it was great to see Stephanie and Brittany both in the top-three. Any one of those three girls could have won the event which made for some exciting diving. The women scored 42 team points which will really help us as this meet keeps going. Overall, it was so nice to see both Mark and Stephanie receive those silver medals."
On the swimming side of the meet, the Cowgirl 800 freestyle relay had the swim of the day as they broke the Wyoming school record by over six seconds. Their time of 7:26.02 was good for a fourth place finish. Swimming the event for the Cowgirls was freshman Stephanie Vint, junior Krista Jones, sophomore Megan Evans and senior Aimee Stinson. Vint's lead off 200 freestyle split of 1:51.13 was also a school record time.
In the men's 800 freestyle, the Cowboys placed fifth with a time of 6:37.45. Swimming for UW was junior Eli Bell, seniors Sam King and Levi Bell and junior Matt Urich. Eli Bell's opening split of 1:38.84 is the second fastest 200 freestyle time in UW history.
In the 200 medley relay, both the Cowgirls and Cowboys swam to fourth place finishes. The Cowgirl team of sophomore Molly Janak, freshman Lesley Young and sophomores Maggie Bach and Cassie Stelow turned in a time of 1:44.25. For the Cowboys, freshman Nathan Fuller, juniors Alex Larkin and Matt Urich and sophomore Tommy Gregory hit the wall in a time of 1:30.73.
"I am real happy with how we swam tonight," Johnson added. "This was one of the best first night's we have ever had. Breaking two school records in the women's 800 freestyle relay was great and to smash the relay record like we did was remarkable. I was pleased with all four of our relays. Overall, we had some great swims tonight and are looking forward to tomorrow."
The MWC Championships will continue Thursday at the Oklahoma City Community College. Scheduled events include women's three-meter diving, men's one-meter diving, the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay. Preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. and the finals will begin at 6 p.m. (Central Time).