Cowgirl Track Dominates In Front Range Championships

May 1, 2011


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Bad weather forced Wyoming's women's track team to wait a day to begin the Front Range Track Championships, so it made sure its performance on Sunday showed fans - and the competition - it was worth the wait.

On a breezy, cloudy Sunday in Fort Collins, the Cowgirls scored 235 points to outdistance Colorado State by nearly 80 points to take the Front Range crown for the first time in the event's history. The Cowgirls won 12 total events to topple the CSU women, who had won the meet three straight years.

Originally, the meet was scheduled to be in Laramie on Saturday, but wet weather forced the move to Fort Collins. Yentes commended the CSU coaching and support staff for their efforts in helping Wyoming host the meet.

"I'd like to thank them," he said. "They did a great job."

Highlights of the day for Wyoming's women included the contributions of Ashley Hutchinson, who won both the shot put and the hammer throw. The 4-by-100-meter relay team of Chantel Bernabo, Afiya Walker, Katy Hall and Erin Kirby won, and their time of 46.13 seconds was good for seventh on UW's all-time top-10 list. The Cowgirls also got wins from Christine Nelson (1,500-meter run), Candace Wollert (800-meter run) and Diana Long in the 400-meter hurdles, among others.

"The ladies put together a really, really good effort," Wyoming coach Don Yentes said. "What can you say? We really had some outstanding performances today. It meant a lot (to the team). It was just a really good job.

"The ladies just came and competed. It was kind of a weird feeling having a `home' meet in Fort Collins, but it didn't seem to deter them at all. They just had a heck of a meet."

On the men's side, the Cowboys finished third with 127 points, finishing behind Colorado State and Air Force.

Mario Harris set a new school record in the 200-meter run with a time of 20.87 seconds, beating his old record by 0.11 seconds. The men's 4-by-100-meter relay also excelled, as Harris, Brandon Douglass, Travis Gunderson and Lenyn Leonce posted the third-fastest time in school history. Leonce also won the long jump (24-5) and Greg Miller won both the 1,500- and 3,000-meter runs.

For a team that has struggled with injuries for much of the season, the performances of the men's team was not lost on Yentes.

"We're a shorted-handed men's team, so we're putting prime emphasis on getting people to (NCAA) nationals," he said. "A couple guys stepped up today. The kids competed well. I am very pleased with both teams."

The Wyoming track teams will have a week off, and will begin preparations for the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track Championships, which will be May 11-14.