Five Wyoming Athletes Capture All-American Honors At NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships

March 13, 2004

Fayetteville, Ark. - Five University of Wyomingtrack and field athletes earned All-American honors in theirrespective events Saturday at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track and FieldChampionships in Fayetteville, Ark. Cowboys Zack Schaefer, Kyle Herland Jeremiah Johnson took home the title as well as Cowgirls ShaunaSmith and Jessica Fox.

Schaefer, a native of Battle Ground, Wash., recorded the seventh bestmark in the men's weight throw. His distance of 66' 5 1/4"placed him in the top eight, earning him All-American status for thefirst time in his career. Junior Kyle Herl, from Hays, Kan., finishedninth in the event with a distance of 65' 7 3/4". Herl record theeighth best American mark to earn the distinction. The top eightfinisher's along with the top eight Americans earn All-Americanhonors by the United States Track and Field Association. Schaefer andHerl become the 11th and 12th Cowboys in program history to winAll-American honors in the weight throw.

Laramie, Wyo. native Jeremiah Johnson finished 14th in the men's800 meter run Friday with a time of 1:50.94. Although he did notqualify of the finals, Johnson earns All-American honors as he postedthe eighth best time by an American.

Shauna Smith, a junior from Sheridan, Wyo., won the high distinctionfor the second time in her career by placing sixth in the finals ofthe women's 400 meter dash with a remarkable time of 51.79. Her timebreaks her previous UW and Mountain West Conference record in theevent, 52.09, that she set yesterday in the prelim's.

Junior Jessica Fox, from Burns,Wyo., also earned All-American honorsin the women's 400 meter dash. Fox crossed the finish line in 52.90to place 12th overall. She did not qualify for the finals in theevent, but she did post the sixth best time by an American. Foxreceives the honor for the second time in her career as she won theaward at last season's outdoor championships.

"To have five of our athletes earn All-American honors is justgreat," said UW head track and field coach Don Yentes. "They areamong the top one percent of all the collegiate athletes in thenation, which shows you how great of an accomplishment this is."

UW's Andrea Batt, a senior from Six Mile, Mont., closed out herindoor season with a 15th place finish in the women's shot put.Batt's recorded a distance of 50' 1 3/4" in the field of 18competitors.

Saturday ended on a sour note for Wyoming as the Cowgirl 4x400 meterrelay team of Jessica Fox, Kima Wells, Amanda Hopper and Shauna Smithfinished in a disappointing 11th place. Fox had the baton knocked outof her hand on the first leg of the race causing very slow start forthe squad. They finished the race with a time of 3:56.56.

"It was very disappointing to see that," added Yentes. "Thegirls had worked really hard for this, but things like this happen.They have the ability to qualify for the outdoor championships so wewill just have to look forward to that."

All of Saturday's action at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track and FieldChampionships will be aired on ESPN2 on Wednesday, March 17th at 1-3:30 p.m., M.T.

The Wyoming track and field programs will now prepare for theiroutdoor campaign. They start the outdoor season on March 27 as halfthe athletes will compete at the Stanford Invite in Palo Alto, Calif.and the others will travel to the Rob Upton Invite in Fort Collins,Colo.