LARAMIE, Wyo. -
It is hard not to get excited about the 2004-05 Wyoming Cowboys track and field team. Losing one senior to graduation and returning three All-Americans, the Pokes will look to step up in the Mountain West Conference. In additon to three All-Americans, the Cowboys also return 12 All-MWC performers from a year ago.
Leading the way for the Cowboys this year will be their three All-Americans: Jeremiah Johnson, Kyle Herl, and Zack Schaefer. All three not only earned All-American status, but also won MWC titles in their respective events last season.
Also expected to score points and contribute for Wyoming is a strong sophomore class that returns five All-MWC performers. They include: Jared Grant, Dominic Baysinger, Adam Kelly, Dwight Neptune, and Phillip Thomas. All five proved to be big contributors to the Pokes during the MWC meets last year as true freshman.
"I believe if we stay healthy and everyone performs at a top level, we can do some damage in the MWC," says UW head coach Don Yentes.
The Pokes throw crew has proven to be not only one of the best in the MWC, but in the nation as well. Under the direction of throws coach Paul Barrett, the Cowboys generated two All-Americans last season in Kyle Herl and Zack Schaefer. Herl is a very vesatile thrower who not only earned a MWC title in the 35lb weight throw, but also a third place finish in the shot put. He would conclude the year with a ninth place finish at the NCAA Championships. Schaefer earned a seventh place finish at the NCAA Championships in the 35lb weight throw. He also won the hammer throw in the MWC Championships and was just one foot short of earning All-American honors at the NCAA Championships in that event.
Returning All-American Jeremiah Johnson will lead UW's distance crew as one of the best 800 meter runners in the nation. Johnson displayed dominance last year as he was the MWC champion in the 800 meters during both seasons. He was also a part of both relay teams that earned All-MWC honors. Senior Jeremy Thompson and newcomer Nick Cramer are also middle distance runners who will look to contribute at the MWC Championsips.
Senior Matt Hudson will be the leader in the 1500 meters. The coaches are looking to get him going and compete at the MWC Championships.
Brian Knight will be called upon to step up for the Cowboys in the long distance events. He was the leading cross country runner for the third consecutive season. Junior Ragan Driver and Chris Schabron will look to also step up during conference competition. They are also excited about newcomer Shadrack Too, who could be a contributor by the outdoor season.
Although this event is slim in numbers for the Cowboys, the coaches are excited about newcomer Michael Arnwine who will look to contribute right away for the Pokes. Also a factor is senior Eric Suter, who placed eighth at the MWC Outdoor Championships last year in the 100 meter hurdles.
This year's sprint crew has the potential to be one of the best UW has had in quite some time. Returning for the Cowboys are juniors Robert Harris and Jermaine Kelly. Harris placed fourth and Kelly finished seventh in the 400 meters at the MWC Outdoor Championships. Harris was a part of both relay teams that earned All-MWC honors and Kelly played a role on the 4x400 meter team.
The Pokes also return strong sophomores Adam Kelly, Dwight Neptune, and Dominic Baysinger who were all All-MWC performers last year. Neptune placed second in the 60 meters and sixth in the 100 meters last year at the MWC Championships. Kelly placed fifth in the 100 meters and Baysinger placed eighth in the 400 meters at the MWC Championships. These three sophmores all had vital roles on the relay teams as well.
Another strong area for the Cowboys is the jumps crew. In the parallel jumps, the Pokes will be led by All-MWC performer Blake Jackson. Jackson took second at the MWC Indoor Championships in the triple jump and fifth place in the long jump. He would also score points in both events at the MWC Outdoor Championsips.
Bret Zowada has steadily improved each year as he enters his senior season competing in the heptathlon and decathlon. Zowada is coming off his best season where he placed fourth in the heptathlon and seventh in the decathlon. He is currently the school record holder in the heptathlon, and is looking to keep improving and become one of the elite in the MWC. Eric Suter is another returner for the Pokes this year. Last year was his first year competing in these events and he looks to improve from last years experiences.