LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming sets its sights on the 2015 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 the SDSU Sports Deck in San Diego, Calif., for the meet. Action on Wednesday and Thursday features the women's heptathlon and men's decathlon beginning at 1 p.m. MT each day. Friday's events commence at 10:30 a.m., while Saturday's final events start at 11 a.m. Fans can follow live results of all four days through GoWYO.com, including live video of Friday and Saturday's track events.
Wyoming looks to be peaking at the right time after the Cowboys and Cowgirls combined for 11 all-time top-10 performances, three facility records and a school record at the Cowpoke Open on May 1 at the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex. Freshman Ricky Faure ran 1:47.59 in the 800 meters for the second-fastest time in Cowboy history and one facility record, while senior Holly Page and sophomore Audra DeStefano had the other two. Page ran 16:33.77, the No. 2 time by a Cowgirl, to accomplish the feat in the 5,000 meters and DeStefano notched a time of 10:18.51 in the steeplechase to break her own school record as well.
"On our men's side right now we have a lot of different events that we can score points in," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "We have a lot of guys that can score big points for us and I think that is going to be the key. A lot of guys have a chance to be in the top three individually and if we can do that I like our chances of being in a position on Saturday afternoon to get a top-three team finish. On the women's side there are a number of events that we could be in that top three and a handful that could win, but our one issue on the women's side is the depth. We do have some athletes that are just outside of the top eight. It's going to be a very important they find a way to get into that top eight."
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 27 individual MW outdoor titles, including four last season from Mason Finley, Garrett Zans and Kyle Sullivan. 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 fourth last season, their highest finish since 2005. The Cowgirls have claimed 29 individual MW outdoor titles. The most recent Cowgirls to win an event were Kereston Thomas and Taylor Gardner last season, as well as Wyoming's 4x100-meter relay.
Last Time Out: Wyoming Records Banner Day at Cowpoke Open
The University of Wyoming men's and women's track and field teams had a day for the ages on May 1 at the Cowpoke Open on Memorial 8 Track at the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex. The host Cowboys and Cowgirls took advantage of the warm, sunny weather to combine for 11 all-time top-10 performances, three facility records and one school record at the meet.
Freshman Ricky Faure was the highlight of the day, as he ran an altitude-converted 1:47.59 to win the 800 meters. His facility-record time was a personal best and moved him up to second in Cowboy history in the event, while ranking first in the Mountain West and 13th in the NCAA at the time. His flat time of 1:48.90 was just four hundredths of a second away from the MW's all-time top five. Graduate student Harry Fisher notched a personal-best 47.58 to win the 400 meters for fifth in UW history and third in the MW. Senior Jason Roascio climbed to fourth in Cowboy history in the 200 meters after crossing the line first in the event in a personal-best 21.30. Faure and Fisher teamed with junior Lance Loken and freshman Kevin Blackett to run 3:10.43 in the 4x400-meter relay, good for second in school history, while junior Amos Bowen won the steeplechase in a personal-best 8:56.68, eighth in UW history. Senior Aaron Derner rounded out the Cowboys' event titles with a time of 14:20.25 in the 5,000 meters.
The Cowgirls were just as impressive, led by sophomore Audra DeStefano and senior Holly Page. DeStefano set facility and school records by winning the steeplechase in 10:18.51. Her time led the MW and was 34th in the country. Page set a facility record by 14 seconds in the 5,000 meters by running a personal-best 16:33.77 to move to second in Cowgirl history in the event, just two seconds away from another school record. Senior Erin Kirby notched a personal-best time of 58.45 for second in the 400-meter hurdles, which keeps her third in UW history in the event. Her time led the conference and ranked 23rd in the nation. Fellow senior Shreese Daniels threw a personal-best 195-8 in the hammer to climb to fourth in Cowgirl history, while placing second in the MW and 39th in the NCAA. Freshman Madison Seaman notched a personal-best mark of 156-2 in the discus for 10th in UW history in the event. The Cowgirls also got event titles from Kerry White in the 800 meters at 2:10.43 and sophomore Shana Wilcoxson in the triple jump with a personal-best leap of 37-8 3/4.
The Cowboys and Cowgirls combined for seven event titles at last year's MW Outdoor Championships, the most the program had ever captured at one conference indoor or outdoor meet. Three of those student-athletes will look to defend those titles this weekend. Senior Kyle Sullivan won last year's decathlon with 6,776 points, while senior Garrett Zans crossed the line first in the steeplechase in 8:56. Senior Audrey West was a leg of the Cowgirls' winning 4x100-meter relay last season.
Checking the Outdoor Rankings
Six Cowboys and Cowgirls currently rank in the NCAA's top 50 of an event. Senior Holly Page is the top Cowgirl at No. 24 in the 10,000 meters after a school-record 33:49 at the Stanford Invite on April 3. Freshman Ricky Faure is the top Cowboy at No. 18 in the 800 meters with a time of 1:47.59 at the Cowpoke Open on May 1. Faure and Kirby currently lead the Mountain West as well. Faure with his time in the 800 meters and Kirby in the 400-meter hurdles after a time of 58.45 at the Cowpoke Open as well. In the latest USTFCCCA outdoor regional team rankings the Wyoming men are 10th in the mountain region, while the Wyoming women are 11th. The Cowboys finished the 2014 outdoor campaign ranked 10th in the mountain region, while the Cowgirls were 11th.
Rewriting Wyoming's All-Time Top 10
A total of 11 Wyoming student-athletes had all-time top-10 performances at the Cowpoke Open on May 1. Freshman Ricky Faure was the highlight for the Cowboys, as he ran 1:47.59 in the 800 meters for the second-fastest time in Cowboy history and a facility record for the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex. Senior Holly Page and sophomore Audra DeStefano set facility records as well in the 5,000 meters and steeplechase, respectively. Page ran 16:33.77, the second-fastest time in Cowgirl history, while DeStefano paced the field in 10:18.51, a school record in the event. The current Cowboy roster owns 22 individual top-10 marks in Wyoming's outdoor history, while the current Cowgirl roster has 22 as well. The two squads combined for 17 all-time top-10 marks at the MW Indoor Championships and have 89 entrees between the two programs and the two seasons.
Cowboys and Cowgirls who qualify will compete at the NCAA West Preliminaries on May 28-30 in Austin, Texas. Student-athletes must finish in the top 48 of their respective event to qualify for the meet. Wyoming sent a school-record 15 qualifiers last season.