UW Track and Field Set For NCAA Championships

June 7, 2005

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

The University of Wyoming track and field teams will be competing at the 2005 NCAA National Championships this weekend, June 8-11, in Sacramento, Calif. The Cowgirls will havefive women competing, while the Cowboys have two.

Leading the Cowgirls into nationals will be senior All-Americans Jessica Fox and Shauna Smith. They are two of three UW women that qualified for the meet in individual events. Sophomore Amanda Hopper and freshman Sharon Larrier will join the two seniors on the 4x400-meter relay team, while senior Tanice Barnett will run in the 1500-meters.

Smith looks to carry her momentum from the Midwest Regional where she was crowned the 400-meter hurdle champion with a personal best time of 54.37. This time also ranks her no. 1 in the NCAA heading into the meet, just ahead of Melaine Walker of Texas. These two currently hold the third and fourth fastest times in the world. At the Midwest Regional meet two weeks ago, the two ran a very exciting race before Smith prevailed. Smith, the Mondo 2005 Midwest Region Athlete of the Year, looks to become the first Cowgirl in UW history to become a national champion.

Fox comes into the meet with the fifth fastest time in the country of 51.83 in the 400-meters. The senior will be looking to earn All-American honors for the second time in the last three outdoor seasons. Not only is her time the fifth fastest this year in the nation, but also is 18th in the world.

Barnett punched her first career ticket to nationals two weeks ago when her gutsy performance in the 1500-meters was good enough for fifth. She did this by running a personal best time of 4:24.94, which ranks her with the 25th best time heading into the meet.

The Cowgirl 4x400-meter relay team is coming off the regional meet where they ran a new school record of 3:31.50. With this time the team was able to receive an at-large bid into nationals. This time is the eighth fastest time in the nation so far this season and 13th in the world. The team looks to become the first relay team in school history to earn All-American honors.

On the men's side, the Cowboys will send both of their athletes in the same event. Seniors Kyle Herl and Zack Schaefer will both be competing in the hammer throw. Herl was awarded his trip to nationals by way of an at-large bid. His best throw during the season of 219'10" ranks him with the fifth best toss entering nationals. Schaefer earned his second-consecutive trip to nationals with his fifth place finish at the Midwest Regional Meet. He enters the weekend with the 21st best mark in the nation of 207' 1" so far this season.

The NCAA National Championships is set to begin on June 8th at 11:00 a.m. P.S.T. with the field events and the track events set for 1:30 p.m. Competition will continue throughout the weekend and finish up on the evening of June 11th.