UW Track and Field Opens Outdoor Season Strong

March 21, 2009

BOULDER, Colo. -

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The University of Wyoming track and field teams opened the outdoor portion of their season Saturday in Boulder, Colo., at the Potts Invitational where the Cowboys and Cowgirls came away with nine titles and 27 top-five finishes.

Junior Emily Higgins led the charge for the Cowgirls as she competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the first time ever and set the school record with her time of 11:09.29 good for second place. Higgins was only a few seconds off qualifying for the regional meet later this season.

Sophomore Jeremiah James was able to qualify for the NCAA Regional meet in the triple jump as he came away with one of the nine titles the Wyoming track team won. His jump of 50' 6" was good for fifth all-time and will compete in the regional meet for the second straight year. Fellow jumper, Lindsey Fuller came away with her own crown in the long jump and was second in the triple jump for the Cowgirls.

"It is quite the accomplishment to be a school record holder in more than one event as Higgins does, and not bad for her first time running in that event," said UW head coach Don Yentes. Higgins currently holds the indoor 3,000-meter record for the University of Wyoming. "We had quite a few kids perform well for us today. It was nice to get outside and not be so confined to the indoor track."

The Cowboy sprinters were led once again by junior Jay Petsch who finished first in the 110-meter hurdles with his time of 15.09 which is good for tenth all-time. Kekoa Chavez also came away with a first-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with his time of 54.66.

As for the Cowgirls, they were led by their returning All-Mountain West Conference performer and defending 100-meter hurdle champion, Shaylee Babbitt who won her event with a time of 14.01, while also placing fifth in the 200-meter dash. Junior Jennifer Schmitz was not far behind Babbitt in the 100-meter hurdles with her second-place finish and time of 14.22.

Newcomer, Afiya Walker entered her name into the record books with her sixth-fastest time in the 400-meter dash and first-place finish of 55.11. As well as senior Sharon Larrier, who enters her final season of competition and came away with a first-place finish in the 200-meter dash and time of 24.28.

Don't forget about the throwers for the Cowboys and Cowgirls as they entered their first meet outdoors and picked up the hammer and discus for the first time this season. Junior Sam Lambert placed fifth in the hammer throw, while freshman Joe Plante was not far behind in 10th. Plante also etched his name in the record books with his third-place finish in the discus throw and ninth-best throw all-time of 166' 5".

Sophomore Amanda Aimone led the Cowgirls to a fifth-place finish in the hammer throw with her toss of 150' 9".

"Our numbers were a little down today but not because we were technically off, it was because we were competing with a heavy ball today," said assistant coach Paul Barrett. "I like to train with the heavy ball for a few weeks before we move to the competition ball, and we just didn't have enough time before this weekend. They did a great job competing and showed the coaching staff that once again we will be a tough group to beat."

"Our kids did a good job of making some improvements this weekend and we just need to continue to improve and not be satisfied with where we are right now," said Yentes.

The Cowboys and Cowgirls will have an opportunity to improve next weekend as they head to Palo Alto, Calif., to compete in the Stanford Invitational, March 27-28.