LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming sets its sights on the 2016 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships this week. The Cowboys and Cowgirls will compete against six men's and 10 women's teams at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis, Calif., for the meet. Action on Wednesday and Thursday features the women's heptathlon and men's decathlon beginning at 5 p.m. MT each day. Friday's events commence at 4:30 p.m., while Saturday's final events start at 4:30 p.m. as well. Fans can follow live results of all four days through GoWYO.com, including live video of Friday and Saturday's track events.
After battling the snowy weather on the Front Range all spring, Wyoming made its final preparations for the conference meet with a dual against Colorado State last Friday in Fort Collins, Colo. The Cowboys and Cowgirls combined for seven all-time top-10 performances, including five by the Wyoming women. Senior Sabina Sandberg paced the Cowgirls with a personal-best leap of 5-9 1/4 in the high jump, good for second in school history, while junior Jordan Charles ran a personal-best 13.82 in the 110-meter hurdles to stay third in program history. Wyoming has dealt with colder temps the majority of this spring, but will have to adjust quickly to forecasts in the 90s this week in California.
"We have to go out there and compete," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "That is the expectation. We set up the whole year for this meet and, even though the competitions haven't gone the way we wanted with cancellations, the kids have trained for this meet. We just have to get them to be confident in their training."
History at the MW Outdoor Championships
The Cowboys' top finish at the Mountain West Outdoor Championships was third in 2000 and 2005, including a program-best 121.5 points in 2000. The UW men haven't finished higher than fifth since 2002. The Cowboys have earned 28 individual MW outdoor titles, including one last season from Ricky Faure. The Cowgirls' top finish at the MW Outdoor Championships came in 2000 when they finished third with 148 points, their highest point total ever. The UW women placed eighth last season. The Cowgirls have claimed 29 individual MW outdoor titles. The most recent Cowgirls to win an event were Kereston Thomas and Taylor Gardner in 2014, as well as Wyoming's 4x100-meter relay.
Last Time Out: Hurdlers Impress Again, but Wyoming Falls at CSU
Senior McKenzie Brogan and junior Jordan Charles ran historic marks in the hurdles, but the University of Wyoming track and field teams dropped duals at Colorado State last Friday afternoon. The Cowgirls posted five all-time top-10 marks in a 92-63 loss to the Rams, while the Cowboys had two marks and fell 83-53.
Brogan continued her run through the Cowgirl record book with another personal best in the 400-meter hurdles on Friday. Her time of 59.30 won the event and moved her up to fourth in program history. Fellow senior Sabina Sandberg won the high jump with a personal-best leap of 5-9 1/4 and now owns sole possession of second in Cowgirl history. Junior Audra DeStefano was runner-up in the 1,500 meters in 4:29.56, good for sixth in UW history. Junior Shana Wilcoxson won the triple jump at 38-0 3/4 for the ninth-furthest leap in program history, while freshman Emelda Malm-Annan was first in the hammer at 185-6 for the 10th-furthest throw ever by a Cowgirl.
Charles paced the field in the 110-meter hurdles in 13.82, a personal best by one hundredth of a second. The time keeps him third in Cowboy history, but is now just one hundredth of a second away from tying the school record. Charles also won the 400-meter hurdles on Friday with a time of 51.68. Freshman Calil Burnett was third in the 100 meters in 10.60 for ninth in program history. Senior Aaron Derner won the 1,500 meters in a personal-best 3:58, while sophomore Jonah Henry was first in the steeplechase in 9:19.
Wyoming has three returning conference champions. Senior Kyle Sullivan won the decathlon in 2014 and place third last year, while fellow senior Kereston Thomas won the 100 meters and 4x100-meter relay in 2014. She missed last year's meet with an injury, though. Sophomore Ricky Faure finished first in the 800 meters last year, but is redshirting this season.
Rewriting Wyoming's All-Time Top 10
The Cowboys and Cowgirls notched seven all-time top-10 performances at Colorado State last Friday. Senior Sabina Sandberg was the best Cowgirl performance, as she cleared 5-9 1/4 for the second-best high jump in UW history. For the Cowboys, junior Jordan Charles ran the third-fastest 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.82. The current Cowboy roster owns 15 individual top-10 marks in Wyoming's outdoor history, while the current Cowgirls have 22, including 14 this year. UW has 79 entrees between the two programs and the two seasons.
Outdoor National Rankings
One Cowboy and one Cowgirl currently rank in the NCAA's top 50 of an event. Junior Jordan Charles is the Cowboy at No. 29 in the 110-meter hurdles after running 13.82 at the Colorado State dual last Friday. He also ranks No. 39 in the 400-meter hurdles after a time of 51.49 at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge on April 23. Junior Audra DeStefano is the Cowgirl at No. 27 in the steeplechase. She ran 10:11.64 at the Weber State Open on April 9. Charles and senior Tyler Anderson in the hammer are currently the only Wyoming student-athletes to lead the Mountain West in an individual event. Teamwise, in the most recent USTFCCCA outdoor mountain region rankings the Cowgirls are 11th and the Cowboys 15th.
Cloetta Honored as Finalist for Top UW Award
A graduating Cowgirl student-athlete was honored with one of the University of Wyoming's top accolades on April 29. Senior track and field athlete Catherine Cloetta was named a finalist for the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award. The honor, established in 1964, annually recognizes the outstanding graduating woman at UW for exhibiting the finest leadership, academic integrity and citizenship qualities. A native of Jackson, Wyo., Cloetta has been a member of the Wyoming track and field and cross country programs the last three seasons. On the track she broke into the Cowgirls' all-time top 10 in the steeplechase last season and this season ran the fourth-fastest time in program history with a personal-best 11:00.77 on April 9. In the classroom, Cloetta has been named a MW Scholar Athlete twice. She will earn degrees in physiology and chemistry this May.
Cowboys and Cowgirls who qualify will compete at the NCAA West Preliminaries on May 26-28 in Lawrence, Kan. Student-athletes must finish in the top 48 of their respective event to qualify for the meet. Wyoming has sent a school-record 15 qualifiers each of the last two seasons.