Conference Meet Awaits Wyoming Track Athletes

Feb. 23, 2011

LARAMIE, Wyo. -


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    The University of Wyoming indoor track and field teams will hit the road Thursday to begin action at the three-day Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.

    Last year
    The women's team hopes to finish higher than it did last season (seventh), and the men also want to improve upon a fourth-place finish.

    "For our women to move up to sixth, or even fifth, we need to have the women do what they haven't done the last couple of years, which is compete very well in the conference meet," Wyoming coach Don Yentes said. "We've competed very well at smaller meets, but it's time for them to step up a little bit."

    Returning champions
    Wyoming had two athletes win a conference crown in last year's indoor meet.

    Afiya Walker was a conference champion for Wyoming last season, winning the 400-meter dash (53.40). Jeremiah James won two events at the conference meet last season, hitting the top marks in two events.

    James, now a senior, was the 2010 MWC High Point Award recipient. James claimed both the men's triple jump (50 feet, 3 ½ inches) and men's long jump (24-6 ¼) He currently holds the league's top mark in the triple jump this season, leaping 51-8 ¼ at the Air Force Invitational on Feb. 11.

    Fellow senior Walker leads the women's team in the sprint events with the fastest 400-meter time (53.75) and the fifth-fastest 200-meter performance (24.62) in the league this season. Walker also competes on the Cowgirls' 4-by-400-meter relay team.

    Who's up first?
    Two competitors will start Thursday for Wyoming, as Britney Jackson and Ku'uipo Nakoa will compete in the women's pentathlon.

    Banged up but not beaten
    The men have dealt with injuries to some key contributors, but are counting on some others to step up in their absence.

    "Even though we're really nicked up and leaving some guys at home, if we had an outstanding meet where we scored in double digits in the weight throw and the long (jump) and triple (jump) and 60-meter hurdles, we could get third, which would be another step forward," Yentes said. "Even nicked up, I think we have a chance at doing that. We need some help from other schools, but we can do that. We'll just have to wait and see."

    What's at stakeShould Wyoming have an athlete rank among the top-16 performances in the nation at the end of the meet, that athlete could earn a spot at NCAA Nationals on March 11-12 in College Station, Texas.