May 15, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
With one day left in the Outdoor Mountain West Conference Track and Field Championships in Laramie, the University of Wyoming men's team is in second place while the women are in eighth. Both follow BYU in first place.
The Cowboys have a total of 47 points, behind BYU with their total of 84. New Mexico and Air Force are not far behind with 45 and 44 points respectively for third and fourth. Colorado State and TCU round out the field with 33 and 16 points earned after day three.
On the women's side, BYU has a total of 64 points, leading Colorado State by 11 with a total of 53. New Mexico (34.5), Utah (34), Air Force (25) and San Diego State (24.5) are all within ten points and close out the day in third, fourth, fifth and sixth respectively. TCU (20), Wyoming (10) and UNLV (5) round out the nine team field after the third day.
The UW men came away with one title in the long jump by sophomore Jeremiah James while the women earned one themselves in the 3,000-meter steeplechase by junior Emily Higgins. James had a personal best and fourth best in UW history leap of 24' 10" in his very first jump of the day. He earned his fourth long jump championship in as many chances as a Cowboy.
Higgins on the other hand, is new to the 3,000-meter steeplechase and competed in the event for the fourth time in her career. She won her first MWC title in impressive fashion being Nicole Peters from Colorado State by nearly 25 seconds. Higgins had to turn right around and run in the 1,500-meter run where she missed qualifying for the finals by two seconds.
"Emily was the one that came to me and asked me about the steeplechase, I knew she was very good at the 3,000-meter run but I didn't know she was this good at it," said assistant coach Randy Cole. "She is a very athletic girl who really showed her fitness level by turning around and almost qualifying in the 1,500. I really didn't want to push her that much and have her run it but she told me she would give it a shot."
As far as the throwers, senior Jake Shanklin was ousted for his first ever hammer throw championship by CSU's Alex Godell who won the event for the third consecutive time. Shanklin's throw of 219' 8" was not enough as Godell's last throw of 221' gave him the championship. Freshman Joe Plante took third place in the discus with his throw of 175' 3", tops among freshman in the conference.
Qualifying for the finals to be run tomorrow were: Cowboys Eliud Chirchir in the 800-meter run and Kekoa Chavez in the 400-meter hurdles. For the Cowgirls, Sharon Larrier and Afiya Walker qualified in the 400-meter dash where Larrier had the top time. Shaylee Babbitt and Jennifer Schmitz qualified in the 100-meter hurdles. Babbitt, who won the event last year in Fort Worth, Tex., on the campus of TCU, regionally qualified in the preliminary race on Friday.
"We had a heck of a meet today across the board, we didn't have any kids under-perform and we had personal best's all over the place, I am very pleased with our effort," said UW head coach Don Yentes. "For our women, this is a big learning experience for our young team and hopefully we can get some much needed points tomorrow. On both sides I hope we have enough bullets to fight off a few teams and score some points while we're at it."
A few notables for the rest of the team, Keith Brauneis ran the seventh-fastest time in UW history in the 100-meter dash with his time of 10.78. Mark Korir ran the sixth-fastest time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with his time of 9:23.30, which gets converted to 8:57.91 for altitude. Greg Miller placed sixth in the 10,000-meter run with his time of 32:49.32, while Tony Michaelis tied his personal best in the high jump with his sixth-place jump of 6' 4.75".
As for the women, Lindsey Simmons was one spot off of qualifying for the finals in the 400-meter dash as she ran the ninth-fastest time in Cowgirl history.
The final day of the MWC Championships will begin at noon at the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex with the men's javelin and 4x100-meter relay. Awards ceremonies will start following the conclusion of the women's 4x400-meter relay that starts at 3:35 p.m.