Wyoming's Jackson, Popp and Shanklin Win Titles at the MWC Indoor Track and Field Championships

Feb. 23, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -

Complete Results

The University of Wyoming track and field program finished up their second day of competition at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. today. Friday's events began with the remaining three events in the men's heptathlon followed by the start of the track and field events at 1 p.m. The field events were the first to compete starting with the women's weight throw.

The highlight of the day for UW came with both men's and women's weight throwers. Senior Shannon Popp won her first MWC title throwing a distance of 63'-6.00" to put her fifth all-time in Wyoming history. Junior Jake Shanklin won his first MWC title as a Wyoming Cowboy in the men's 35lb. weight throw with a distance of 66'-10.75". Sophomores Courtney Gougler and Brad Charters both placed seventh with distances of 55'-0.75" and 54'-7.25".

"I am just absolutely impressed with both the men and women today," said UW head track and field coach, Don Yentes. "The kids stepped up and did some great things today and you can't be anything but pleased, especially with the performances of Blake [Jackson], Shannon [Popp] and Jake [Shanklin]."

For the Cowboys, senior jumper Blake Jackson finished in first place in the men's long jump event, jumping a distance of 23'-11.00", while freshman John Alderson made his MWC Championship debut with a fourth place finish, jumping a distance of 22'-5.25". In the men's high jump event, seniors Phillip Thomas (6'-7.5") and Jared Grant (6'-5.50") finished in fourth and seventh place respectively.

"We've made a massive step up from years past and I am just really excited," said Yentes. "You can't beat it."

Senior Brian Knight's time of 15:01.09 placed him fourth in the men's 5,000-meter run, while the men's distance medley relay, made up of seniors Philemon Tanui and Nick Cramer, sophomore Mark Korir and freshman Keith Brauneis, finished in third place with a time of 10:05.33. Earlier in the day, the men's heptathlon finished up competition as seniors Olav Roe (5,119 points) and Thomas (4,909 points) finished in fourth and sixth place overall.

In the preliminary events, junior Vashone West finished in fifth place of the men's 200-meter dash with a time of 21.80 and qualified for the finals on Saturday. Cramer qualified for the men's 800-meter run finals as he finished second in the preliminaries with a time of 1:53.97. In the men's 60-meter dash preliminaries, West finished sixth with a time of 6.91, while senior Adam Kelly crossed the line in seventh place with a time of 7.03. Both athletes qualified for the finals on Saturday.

For the Cowgirls, the highlight came with the women's 60-meter hurdles, as Wyoming put two women through to the finals on Saturday. Junior Shaylee Babbitt won her heat with a time of 8.48, while sophomore Adriana Friezen also won her heat with a time of 8.53. Babbitt and Friezen ran the two fastest times in the preliminaries of that event. Junior sprinter Sharon Larrier competed well today as she made the finals in the women's400-meter dash by placing seventh overall in the preliminaries with a time of 55.71. The first day of competition also saw some disappointment as senior Amanda Hopper, who won her heat in the women's 200-meter dash with a time of 24.74, did not qualify for the finals in that event.

"We had some athletes who had performances that were lights out, but didn't make the finals," said Yentes. "That's just the way it goes sometimes."

Junior Gretchen Johnson had a solid performance in the women's 5,000-meter run as she set a school record with a time of 17:40.91. The surprise of the day came with sophomore distance runner Brenna Dooley. Dooley's time of 2:14.14 qualified her for the finals in the women's 800-meter run. Senior pole vaulter Kat Doherty finished the day in 12th place with a height of 11'-5.00", while the women's distance medley relay performed very well as they finished fourth with a time of 12:38.10. The team was made up of junior Nikki Peterson, sophomores Dooley and Amanda Gordon and freshman Emily Higgins.

"We had a great meet today," said Yentes. "The kids are running hard, jumping far and just having a great time."

Tomorrow's events will begin at 10 a.m. with the women's high jump event. The meet will conclude at 3:45 p.m. with the men's 4x400-meter relay.