May 24, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Eight Wyoming athletes will begin competition at the 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional meet in Austin, Texas, on Friday. Each Cowboy or Cowgirl will be looking to finish in the top-five in their respective events to earn a spot to go to the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif., on June 7-10.
Of the two UW teams, the Cowboys will send the larger contingent with five athletes. Sophomore Mark Korir enters the meet with the fourth fastest time in the region of 13:58.86 in the 5,000-meters, while sophomore Philemon Tanui's season best time of 8:56.57 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase is the tenth fastest in the region. Senior Jeremiah Johnson, a two-time Mountain West Conference Champion and three-time all-conference performer in the 800-meters, will be vying for his first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. He holds the seventh fastest 800-meter time of 1:48.84 entering the weekend. In the field events the Pokes will be represented by senior Blake Jackson and freshman Brad Charters. Jackson will be competing at his first regional meet with the ninth furthest triple jump this season of 50' 7", while Charters is also the ninth seed in the hammer throw with his season best throw of 187' 7".
The Cowgirls who will have their eyes set on Sacramento will be junior Kate Burton and sophomores Sharon Larrier and Shaylee Babbitt. Burton holds the third best hammer throw in the midwest region of 197' 11" and will look to have a strong competition after a sickness hindered her during the latter part of the season. 2005 All-American Sharon Larrier will be competing in her second consecutive regional meet in the 400-meters this weekend. Her season best time of 53.94 is currently the 14th fastest time in the event thus far. Babbitt will look to continue to improve her time in the 100-meter hurdles as she has done almost every week this season. She is coming off a career best time of 13.89 in the MWC Championships, which is the 20th fastest time in the region.
"Our goal is to get as many of them to move on to Sacramento as possible," said UW head coach Don Yentes. "I think all eight kids are prepared and have a legitimate chance of getting to the NCAA's if they perform at the top of their game."
Competition will begin on Friday with the field events at 12:00 pm and the track events starting a 3:00 pm (MST).