LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's and women's track and field teams send seven members to this week's NCAA West Preliminary in Lawrence, Kan. Four Cowboys and three Cowgirls qualified for the regional meet hosted Thursday through Saturday by posting top-48 marks in their respective events. They now must finish in the top 12 in Kansas to advance to the NCAA Championships on June 9-12 in Eugene, Ore. Fans can follow live results and live video of the NCAA West Preliminary through GoWYO.com.
Wyoming's seven qualifiers are just half the total of last season, but present a promising group. Junior Jordan Charles, junior Audra DeStefano and senior Tyler Anderson will all be making their third appearance at the regional meet and could translate that experience into a bid to Oregon. DeStefano is Wyoming's top-ranked athlete at 13th in the steeplechase, while Charles is 17th in the 110-meter hurdles and 22nd in the 400-meter hurdles. Two of the other four qualifiers are freshman Bryce Ailshie and sophomore Garrett Lynch, who should benefit from this big-meet experience early in their career.
"We are sending a great group this year, because we have a blend of athletes that have competed before at this meet and younger kids that are going for the first time," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "No matter how many we send, though, the goal of this meet is to advance and I think we have some kids that have a real chance to make it to Eugene, which would be a third-straight year for us."
History at the NCAA West Preliminary
Wyoming's seven qualifiers for this year's NCAA West Preliminary are down from a program-best 15 each of the last two seasons. Three UW athletes have advanced past the regional meet in the six-year history of the current qualifying system, including one each of the last two years. Harry Fisher advanced in the 800 meters last season, Mason Finley in the discus in 2014 and Jeremiah James in the triple jump in 2010. The Wyoming men have earned 20 All-America honors outdoors, while the women have 18. The last Cowboy to claim the accolade was Fisher last season with a 12th-place finish in the 800 meters, while the last Cowgirl was national champion Shauna Smith in the 400-meter hurdles in 2005.
Seven Wyoming Track & Field Members Earn NCAA Bids
Seven University of Wyoming track and field student-athletes qualified to compete in the NCAA West Preliminary on May 26-28 in Lawrence, Kan., the governing body announced last Thursday. Three of the Cowboys and Cowgirls will be making their third appearance.
To reach the NCAA's East or West Preliminary, an athlete must be ranked in the region's top 48 of his/her event. From there, the top 12 finishers in each event at the two regional meets will receive an invitation to the NCAA Championships on June 9-12 in Eugene, Ore.
Junior Jordan Charles is the top Cowboy qualifier, sitting 17th in the West in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.86. He also will compete in the 400-meter hurdles, after running 51.49 for 22nd. Senior Tyler Anderson and sophomore Garrett Lynch are the two Cowboy throwers to qualify. Anderson ranks 27th in the hammer with a mark of 202-9 and Lynch is 47th in the discus at 174-7. Freshman Bryce Ailshie just got in as well with a time of 1:50.06 for 46th in the 800 meters. Charles and Anderson will be making their third appearance at the regional meet, while Lynch and Ailshie will compete for the first time.
The top-ranked Cowgirl is junior Audra DeStefano at 13th in the steeplechase. Her time of 10:07.35 broke her own school record in the event. Senior Sabina Sandberg cleared 5-9 1/4 in the high jump to qualify 23rd, while fellow senior McKenzie Brogan is 39th in the 400-meter hurdles at 59.34. DeStefano is running in her third regional meet, while Sandberg and Brogan make their first appearance.
Three Wyoming student-athletes has advanced past the preliminary round in the six years of the current qualifying system. That includes Harry Fisher in the 800 meters in 2015 and Mason Finley in the discus in 2014. Jeremiah James advanced in the triple jump in 2010.
Wyoming's NCAA West Preliminary Qualifiers
Bryce Ailshie -- 800 Meters -- 1:50.05 -- 46th West
Tyler Anderson -- Hammer -- 202-9 -- 27th West
Jordan Charles -- 110-Meter Hurdles -- 13.86 -- 17th West
Jordan Charles -- 400-Meter Hurdles -- 51.49 -- 22nd West
Garrett Lynch -- Discus -- 174-7 -- 47th West
Last Time Out: Charles Paces Wyoming on Final Day of MW Meet
Junior Jordan Charles placed in the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles for the University of Wyoming on May 14 during the final day of the 2016 Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys finished sixth with 44 points, while the Cowgirls tied for ninth with 35 points.
Charles crossed the finish line third in the 110-meter hurdles for a second-straight year after running 14.02 on the final day. He followed with a time of 52.51 for fourth in the 400-meter hurdles. The other Cowboy to score on the final day was sophomore Garrett Lynch. His personal-best throw of 174-7 in the discus placed him fifth and was just three inches shy of Wyoming's all-time top 10.
For the Cowgirls, senior McKenzie Brogan finished third in the 400-meter hurdles in 59.34, while sophomore Heidi Pfoor was seventh in 1:02. Junior Cassidy Meade also scored with a sixth-place finish in the 800 meters in 2:10. Three other Cowgirls didn't score, but had all-time top-10 performances. Sophomore Lauren Hamilton was ninth in the 1,500 meters in 4:32.28, good for seventh in Cowgirl history, while freshman Allegra Carson placed the same in the triple jump with a leap of 38-7, which also was ninth in Wyoming history. Junior Audra DeStefano ran the fifth-fastest 5,000 meters in program history with a time of 16:50.60 for 11th.
Track & Field Earns Four All-MW Honors
The University of Wyoming men's and women's track and field teams collected four All-Mountain West honors when the league office announced the all-conference teams on May 16. All-conference selections were awarded to the top-three finishers in each event at the MW Outdoor Championships on May 12-14.
Junior Audra DeStefano highlighted the Cowgirl honorees with her sixth All-MW award. She won the steeplechase in a school-record time of 10:07.35, which was the third fastest ever at the MW meet and 25th in the NCAA this season. DeStefano claimed the 30th individual outdoor MW title for the Cowgirls and the first in the steeplechase since Emily Higgins in 2009. Wyoming's other female honoree was senior McKenzie Brogan with a third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles in 59.34. The All-MW award was the fourth of her career.
Senior Tyler Anderson paced the Cowboys with his fourth All-MW accolade after winning the hammer. His personal-best throw of 202-9 kept him ninth in Wyoming history in the event and ranks 80th in the NCAA this season. He earned the 29th individual outdoor MW title for the Cowboys and first in the hammer since Zack Schaefer in 2004. Wyoming's other male honoree was junior Jordan Charles with a third-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.02. The All-MW award was the fifth of his career.
In his four years Wyoming head coach Bryan Berryhill's student-athletes have earned a total of 49 All-MW accolades during the outdoor season.
Rewriting Wyoming's All-Time Top 10
The Cowboys and Cowgirls notched eight all-time top-10 performances at the Mountain West Championships on May 12-14, including seven by the Cowgirls. Junior Audra DeStefano was the best Cowgirl performance, as she broke her own school record in the steeplechase with a time of 10:07.35. She also ran the fifth-fastest 5,000 meters in program history with a time of 16:50.60. For the Cowboys, senior Tyler Anderson threw 202-9 in the hammer for ninth in school history. The current Cowboy roster owns 15 individual top-10 marks in Wyoming's outdoor history, while the current Cowgirls have 26, including 18 this year. UW has 83 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. 36 in the 110-meter hurdles after running 13.82 at the Colorado State dual on May 6. He also ranks No. 47 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. 25 in the steeplechase. She ran 10:07.35 at the Mountain West Championships on May 14. Senior Tyler Anderson in the hammer is currently the only Wyoming student-athlete to lead the Mountain West in an individual event. Teamwise, in the last USTFCCCA outdoor mountain region rankings of the season the Cowgirls were 13th and the Cowboys 14th.
Cowboys and Cowgirls who finish in the top 12 of their event at the NCAA West Preliminary will advance to the NCAA Championships on June 9-12 in Eugene, Ore.