May 28, 2009
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming track and field teams will compete at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet this weekend, Friday, May 29 through Saturday, May 30, in Norman, Okla. The meet will be held at the John Jacobs Track and Field Complex on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.
Over 800 athletes from 40 different Midwest programs will compete for a spot in the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The top-five individuals in each event and the top-three relay teams will all qualify. The regional meet will showcase 15 of the nation's top-25 teams, along with 15 athletes that are ranked No. 1 nationally in their respective events.
"We are really excited to have the opportunity to have so many athletes compete and represent the University of Wyoming," UW head coach Don Yentes said. "Every person in our group has the ability to move on. Some of the older athletes that know what to expect from this meet will have an edge on those that are here for the first time."
Leading the charge for the Cowboys will be senior All-American Jake Shanklin who is third in the region and 10th in the nation in the hammer throw event. Sophomore Jeremiah James qualified in both the long jump and triple jump, but will only compete in the triple jump to increase his chances on moving on to the NCAA Championships. James is currently ranked 13th in the region in the triple jump and will take to the runway on Saturday at 4 p.m. (MT).
As for the Cowgirls, senior Shaylee Babbitt heads into the 100-meter hurdles with the 10th best time in the region and will look to qualify for the finals Friday at 3:40 p.m. (MT). Junior Emily Higgins, who is coming off her first ever Mountain West Conference Championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, qualified in both the steeple and the 1,500-meter run. Higgins will run in the challenging 3,000-meter steeplechase on Saturday at 6:15 p.m. (MT).
Also competing for the Cowgirls will be senior Sharon Larrier (400-meter), sophomore Afiya Walker (400-meter), junior Jennifer Schmitz (100-meter hurdles), junior Johnna Jeffries (high jump) and the 4x400-meter relay team that is made up of junior Erica Anderson, freshman Lindsey Simmons, Larrier and Walker.
"As long as we continue to do what we did to get here, this should be a very successful weekend," said Yentes. "Generally speaking, we have an advantage when we come down to sea level and compete, so all we can do is put them out there and let them compete."
The two-day event kicks off Friday at 11 a.m. (MT) with the women's hammer throw. Running events begin at 3:30 p.m. (MT) with the women's 4x100-meter relay. Saturday's action also begins at 11 a.m. (MT) with the men's hammer throw as action on the track starts at 5 p.m. (MT) with the finals of the women's 4x100-meter relay.