Feb. 26, 2011
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -
The sun set on the final day of the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track Championships on championship Saturday, but not until the Wyoming track and field program made its impact.
Wyoming boasted three MWC champions in Mario Harris, Afiya Walker and Jeremiah James over the three-day event. The Wyoming men finished fifth with 80 points, and the women's team was sixth with 46 points.
"When you have champions, that's always pretty thrilling. I'm pretty happy with that," Wyoming head coach Don Yentes said. "I think we're improving. We're a young team and we had a lot of really good performances. We had some of the (upperclassmen) that we were counting on not quite come through, but some of the younger kids came up and scored a few points."
On Saturday, Harris won the 60-meter dash for the Cowboys, the first time in MWC Championship history that a Wyoming athlete has won the event. His time of 6.792 was a career-best, and tied him for fourth on UW's all-time list. He also was second in the 200-meter dash, with a new career-best time of 21.43 seconds. That time is fourth on UW's all-time list as well.
Emily Moore finished eighth in the triple jump, with a distance of 37 feet, 3 inches, and Michael Tasker and Brandon Douglass finished sixth and seventh, respectively, for the Pokes in the 60-meter hurdle finals. Douglass also was eighth in the pole vault, hitting a height of 16-0 ¾, which puts him fourth on UW's all-time list.
Walker set a new personal-best mark in the 400-meter dash, blazing to a time of 53.10 seconds. She has won back-to-back MWC indoor titles in the event, and as of Saturday, her performance ranked her seventh in the nation in the event. In the same event, Erin Kirby and Lindsey Simmons set new personal bests with times of 54.82 (Kirby) and 55.40 (Simmons).
Ashley Hutchinson was fifth in the women's shot put, hitting a distance of 46-11 1/2, and Caleb Her Many Horses was seventh in the 1-mile run, 4:22.55. Christine Nelson finished eighth in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:0.83, but converted for altitude came to 9:48.96. That put her second on UW's all-time list.
Joe Riccio was fifth in the shot put, hitting a distance of 53-1, while Greg Miller and Taylor Kelting came in seventh and eighth in the 3,000-meter run. Their times, with altitude conversion, now are fifth and eighth, respectively.
"They're coming around," Yentes said. "We've got to learn to turn the sixth, seventh and eighth places into first, third and fourth."
UW's outdoor track season will begin March 19 in the Potts Invite in Boulder, Colo.