Pair Of Cowgirls In Action On Opening Day Of NCAA Championships

March 8, 2002

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Laramie, Wyo. -- The duo of freshmansprinter Shauna Smith and senior thrower Julie Thomas kickedoff Wyoming's participation in the NCAA Indoor Track andField Championships Friday in Fayateville, Ark.

Smith, the record-setting speedster from Sheridan and aprovisional NCAA qualifier, finished third in her heat and14th overall in the 400-meter dash preliminaries with a runof 53.6, just off her school-record time of 53.54 set lastweekend at the Mountain West Conference Championships.

"Shauna didn't make the finals but she ran a greatrace," UW head coach Don Yentes said. "She had a greatseason for a freshman."

Thomas competed in the NCAA Championships' opening eventFriday, the women's weight throw. Fresh off winning theMWC crown in the the weight throw last weekend in ColoradoSprings and entering the NCAA Championships ranked 14thnationally, Thomas finished 17th with a toss of 58-3.

"Julie had a little bit of an off day, but she competedhard and gave a real good effort," Yentes said. "This isa tough field and it's a heck of an accomplishment just toget here. I'm very pleased and proud of the way both ofthem competed."

Two more Wyoming athletes are slated to begin nationalcompetition Saturday, the last day of the two-day meet.After winning his fourth straight MWC crown in the triplejump last weekend, senior Quincy Howe looks to landAll-American honors for the second straight year Saturday.Preliminaries in the men's triple jump begin at 4:45 p.m.MDT.

Cowgirl sophomore Andrea Batt earned All-American laurelsin the javelin at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor Championships andtook home All-Conference honors in both the shot put andweight throw at last weekend's MWC Championships. She willcompete in the shot put in Fayateville beginning at 3:30p.m. MDT Saturday.

"We're excited to get it cranked up tomorrow," Yentessaid.