Wyoming Track & Field Teams Enter 2013-14 Season with High Expectations

Dec. 4, 2013


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The University of Wyoming men's and women's track and field teams begin the indoor portion of the 2013-14 season on Friday when the squads host the Power Meet in Laramie. Field events start at 4 p.m. MT and running events at 5:30 p.m. MT on the Hager-LeBar Indoor Track in War Memorial Fieldhouse. Fans can follow live updates through Wyoming's official Twitter account @wyoathletics.

The Cowboys return three NCAA qualifiers and two All-MW honorees from last season, while the Cowgirls welcome back three NCAA qualifiers and four athletes that earned six all-conference accolades a season ago. The UW men's nine letterwinners coming back will be supplemented by a large group of 15 newcomers. The UW women return 10 letterwinners and welcome a total of 18 newcomers to the squad.

"This meet is the culmination of all the training our fall track kids have done, so the goal is really to find out where they are at," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "It's one thing to see your athletes train, but it's another to see them compete, so our staff is excited to get this team on the track and find out where everyone is at."

Cowboy Season Preview
Wyoming returns three Cowboys who qualified for the NCAA Championships last season and two student-athletes who earned All-Mountain West honors. The UW field events will be paced by senior Mason Finley, who enters his second season in the program. Finley only competed indoors last season, but made his mark with a school-record toss of 65-9 3/4 in the shot put to qualify for the NCAA meet. He won the MW title in the event and was named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Field Athlete of the Year. Fellow thrower Paul Thomas qualified outdoors for the NCAA meet in the discus for a second-straight year and returns for his junior season in Brown and Gold. He owns the third-best discus throw in school history at 189-10.

On the track, junior Colin Herald advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary in the 110-meter hurdles during the outdoor season. He earned All-MW honors in the event at the conference meet and ran a career-best 14.25 during the season for sixth on UW's all-time chart. Senior Garrett Zans placed third in the 3,000 meters at last year's indoor conference championships to claim All-MW accolades. He redshirted the outdoor season, but became the first Cowboy to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships since 2008 during the fall.

As a team, the Cowboys return nine letterwinners from last season and eight squad members, while welcoming 15 newcomers to the 32-man squad.

"Our goal when we took over as a new staff was to get to the top third in the Mountain West and I feel we have a men's team that can challenge for that this year, indoors and outdoors," Berryhill said. "The biggest thing is we have to stay healthy, because we don't have a ton of depth yet in the program. What excites me on our men's side is the balance, though. We can score good points in all the events and that's what we are going to have to do to place in the top third."

Cowgirl Season Preview
Wyoming returns a wealth of talent on the women's side with three Cowgirls who qualified for the NCAA Championships and four Cowgirls who earned six All-MW accolades. The field events will be a strength for UW, behind junior Shreese Daniels, senior Jenna Mann and sophomore Sabina Sandberg. Daniels qualified for the NCAA outdoor meet in the hammer a season ago with a throw of 185-9, while Mann went in the 100-meter hurdles at 13.64. Mann claimed three All-MW honors in during the indoor season in the pentathlon, heptathlon and 100-meter hurdles. Her 3,681 points in the pentathlon was a school record, while her 5,200 points in the heptathlon was second in UW history. Sandberg cleared 5-8 3/4 in the high jump to win the conference indoor title.

On the track, senior Taylor Gardner's 59.41 in the 400-meter hurdles ranked fourth in school history and took her to the NCAA meet during the outdoor season. Fellow senior hurdler Katy Hall earned All-MW honors in the 60-meter hurdles with a runner-up finish at the indoor conference championships. Her time of 8.51 ranked fifth in UW history. Junior Holly Page paces the distance core after claiming All-MW accolades in the 10,000 meters at last season's MW Outdoor Championships.

As a team, the Cowgirls return 10 letterwinners and 14 squad members, while welcoming 18 newcomers to the 42-woman team.

"Our women have an opportunity to be in the top third of the conference as well this season," Berryhill said. "We return several athletes that are capable of challenging for individual conference titles and also welcome several newcomers that have the talent to make an immediate impact. Like the men, the women have a lot of balance. Last year we had events where we didn't score any points. We addressed that with this recruiting class and have a good chance this year to score in every event."

Last Time Out: Teams Track Season Concludes on Final Day of West Preliminary
Despite strong efforts by four Wyoming seniors to qualify for the finals, the 2013 track and field season came to a close May 25 at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin, Texas.

Brandon Douglass placed 22nd in the quarterfinals round of the 110-meter hurdles in 14.28 to finish the year. His career as a Cowboy included UW's fourth best all-time 110-meter hurdles (13.97), ninth-best pole vault (15-1) and eighth-best decathlon (6,620), among several indoor records. He came into the regional as the No. 19 seed for the event and ranked 49th nationally.

Joe Plante was able to compete in the hammer throw after the event was postponed a day earlier due to heavy rain. After two fouls, the Maynard, Minn., native threw a distance of 192-5 for 29th place, not quite enough to make the cut of 16 for three additional throws. He finished his Cowboy career with UW's No. 5, No. 9 and No. 10 all-time throws in the discus, hammer and weight throw, respectively.

Henry Ferreira competed in the javelin throw and reached a best distance of 212-0 for the day for 20th place, also not quite enough to advance for three more throws. The distance was the third-best of the year and fourth best of his career. He finished his career with UW's all-time best javelin throw from his 224-0 at the MW Championships to win his first MW title.

Senior Mollie Dahl completed the women's shot put in 46th place at a distance of 46-2 1/2. She finished her Cowgirl career as UW's No.3 all-time record holder for the event (51-2 1/4) and was a two-time runner-up at the MW Championships both seasons she competed for Wyoming.

Finley Seeking to Add to Resume
Senior thrower Mason Finley is already an eight-time All-American and four-time NCAA runner-up, but he will surely add to that total for the Cowboys this winter and spring. Finely came to Wyoming last year and instantly made an impact. He competed indoors and smashed the school record for the shot put with a toss of 65-9 3/4. He advanced to the NCAA Championships with the second-seeded mark and earned Honorable Mention All-American to become UW's first Cowboy All-American since 2009. He redshirted outdoors, but still competed unattached and posted the fifth-best discus throw in the U.S. with a toss of 205-0.

More to Come
The current Cowboy and Cowgirl track and field roster contains a total of 15 top-three marks on Wyoming's all-time charts. Ten of those marks have come during the indoor season, including school records by Mason Finley in the shot put (65-9 3/4), Candace Wollert in the 800 meters (2:10.52) and Jenna Mann in the pentathlon (3,681 pts).

Wyoming Announces 2013-14 Track & Field Schedule
Four home meets, including the 2014 Mountain West Outdoor Championships, and two duals in Gillette highlight the University of Wyoming track & field team's 2013-14 schedule, which was announced by head coach Bryan Berryhill on Sept. 12.

The Cowboys and Cowgirls host two home meets on the Hager-LeBar Indoor Track at War Memorial Fieldhouse during the indoor season, the Power Meet on Friday, Dec. 6 and the Robert Shine Invitational on Friday, Feb. 21. UW will also venture to Gillette twice to compete on the six-lane, 200-meter track in the Campbell County Recreation Center. Wyoming will battle Colorado State in the Border War Dual on Saturday, Jan. 18, before facing Montana State in the Powder River Dual on Friday, Jan. 31.

Wyoming will host the MW Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2009 on Wednesday, May 14 through Saturday, May 17, on the Memorial 8 Track at the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex. The Cowboys finished sixth and the Cowgirls were ninth in the team race the last time the program hosted the conference championships. UW will also host the Cowpoke Open on Sunday, May 4, as a tune-up for the MW meet.

Other highlights of Wyoming's indoor schedule include three meets at Air Force, including the 2014 MW Indoor Championships on Thursday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, March 1. UW will also travel to the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash., on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15. The 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships will be on Friday and Saturday, March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.

During the outdoor season, Wyoming will return to the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays on Wednesday, April 16 through Friday, April 18, while also visiting California for the UC Riverside Spring Track Classic on Thursday, March 27 through Saturday, March 29. Regional meets include the Air Force Relays on Saturday, April 5, the CU Invitational on Saturday, April 12 and CSU's Jack Christiansen Invitational on Friday and Saturday, April 25-26.

Qualifying individuals finish the outdoor season at the NCAA West Preliminaries from Thursday to Saturday, May 29-31 and the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Wednesday, June 11 through Saturday, June 14.

Next Up
Wyoming is off until hosting Colorado State for the Border War Dual at the Campbell County Rec Center in Gillette on Jan. 18.