LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's and women's track and field teams begin the indoor portion of the 2014-15 campaign 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.
Both the Cowboys and Cowgirls return a large contingent of student-athletes that either earned All-Mountain West honors or qualified for the NCAA Championships last season. Wyoming is coming off a banner season that saw the Cowgirls place second at the MW indoor meet, their highest finish ever, and a program-record 15 student-athletes qualify for the first round of the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"As coaches we have been watching these athletes train the last five months, but what is exciting about Friday is getting to see how they perform with that Brown and Gold jersey on," UW head coach Bryan Berryhill said. "Hopefully it is in a good direction. The good thing about this meet being so early is that we'll know where we need to get them to. We can evaluate where we are now, so that we, as coaches, know where to train them over the next three months to prepare for the conference championships."
Cowboy Season Preview
Wyoming returns every Cowboy except one that qualified for last season's NCAA Championships or earned All-Mountain West honors. Now the one not returning is Mason Finley, who earned his degree and was one of the top throwers in UW history, but Berryhill is excited about his men's squad this season. The Cowboys placed fifth at the MW Indoor Championships with 86 points, their most since 2010, and followed with a fourth-place showing at the outdoor meet with 110 points, their second-most points ever at the contest.
Graduate student Harry Fisher is Wyoming's top returner, after he placed second in the 800 meters at the MW indoor and outdoor meet and ran the second-fastest time in school history in the event in 1:48. Sophomore sprinter Jordan Charles is back after a premier first season in the program that included six marks in Wyoming's top-10 lists, including a school-record 7.87 in the 60-meter hurdles, and is joined by senior Colin Herold who qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 110-meter hurdles two seasons ago. Senior Garrett Zans will pace the distance crew after winning the conference title in the steeplechase a season ago, while junior Tyler Anderson and senior Paul Thomas will fill the void left by Finley in the throwing events. Junior Scott Carter is UW's top returning jumper after four top-10 marks last year. All four were NCAA qualifiers last season. As a team, the Cowboys return 16 letterwinners from last season, while welcoming 11 newcomers to the 38-man squad.
"We return a great foundation from last year's team and a majority of the points that we scored at the MW Championships," Berryhill said. "Plus we add in a really talented freshman class, so I think this team is ready to make that jump to be in the top three at the conference meet. We worked on consistency a lot this fall. Being consistent in everything we do so it carries over to performances. You have to perform at the conference meet and if you are consistent, odds are that you can do it on that day."
Cowgirl Season Preview
On the women's side, Wyoming lost big point earners in Taylor Gardner and Jenna Mann, but still return a solid stable of Cowgirls that qualified for the NCAA meet or earned All-MW honors. Wyoming placed second at the MW Indoor Championships, its highest finish ever at the meet, with 84 points, its most since 2004 and added a fourth-place finish at the outdoor meet with 94 points, their most points since 2004.
Junior Kereston Thomas is Wyoming's top female returner, after she ran to MW titles last season in the 200 meters indoors, 100 meters outdoors and 4x100-meter relay outdoors. She ran the second-fastest time in school history in the 200 meters with a 24.2, while outdoors she broke her own UW record in the 100 meters with an 11.5. Senior Holly Page won the 5,000-meter title at the indoor conference meet and qualified in the 10,000 meters for the NCAA outdoor meet, while sophomore Audra DeStefano was just as impressive with a school record in her first season running the steeplechase. Senior Shreese Daniels will look to wrap up a solid Cowgirl career, after qualifying for the NCAA outdoor meet each of the last three seasons. As a team, the Cowgirls return 10 letterwinners, while welcoming 22 newcomers to the 49-woman team.
"Just like on the men's side, our women return quite a few of their points from last season," Berryhill said. "The women made that jump into the top three at the conference level, but now we need to prove we belong there. They need to work on their consistency, so when we get to that MW meet we can be a top-three team year in and year out."
Last Time Out: Finley Finishes Sixth in Eugene for 11th All-America Honor
The University of Wyoming's Mason Finley finished sixth in the discus with a throw of 196-5 (59.88 meters) during the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on June 13 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.. The senior battled cloudy, cool temperatures that included an unfriendly wind to claim his 11th All-America honor.
Finley hit that mark on his second throw to advance to the finals and notched the same distance on his first throw of the finals, but couldn't further his mark over his last two attempts. Alabama's Hayden Reed won with a throw of 205-10, as just four of the 11 competitors that entered the competition with a mark over 200 feet accomplished the feat on Friday. Finley was seeded fifth with a mark of 210-6.
Finley went on to earn the bronze medal in the discus on June 27 at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor National Championships in Sacramento, Calif. His throw of 61.04 meters (200-3) was just one centimeter behind second-place Bryan Powlen of the Greater Boston Track Club.
Howe Returns to Wyoming Track & Field Program
The University of Wyoming track and field program welcomed back one of the most accomplished Cowboys of all time on June 18, as head coach Bryan Berryhill announced the hiring of Quincy Howe as an assistant coach in charge of jumps. Howe spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at West Texas A&M University, after serving on the UW coaching staff from 2003 to 2012.
A 2009 inductee into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame, Howe is widely considered the best jumper in Cowboy history. He was a two-time All-American indoors in the triple jump in 2001 and 2002, but was dominant at the conference level. He never lost to a conference foe in his four years in the Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West, as he won a total of eight conference titles. The native of Parry Lands, Trinidad, still owns Wyoming school records in the triple jump indoors at 54-9 1/4 and outdoors at 54-4 3/4, while ranking seventh outdoors in the long jump at 24-5 1/2. His indoor triple jump mark still stands as a MW all-time record, while his outdoor mark is second in conference history. For his accomplishments, Howe was named to the MW 10th Anniversary Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field teams.
Track & Field Teams Honored for Academics
The University of Wyoming men's and women's track and field teams continued a successful 2013-14 season on July 28, as both were named as United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic teams. Seven Wyoming student-athletes also earned individual All-Academic honors from the organization.
The Cowgirls were chosen by way of a 3.32 cumulative team grade-point average, while the Cowboys notched a 3.16 GPA. Both Wyoming teams have claimed the accolade two out of the last three seasons.
Holly Page, Taylor Gardner, Jenna Mann and Audra DeStefano were selected for the UW women, while the UW men were represented by Colin Herold, Harry Fisher and Garrett Zans. Page notched the top GPA by a Cowgirl with a 3.96 in elementary education, while Colin Herold's 3.90 in business administration was the best by a Cowboy. Wyoming has had seven individual honorees for three-straight seasons.
Teams earn the USTFCCCA All-Academic award by carrying a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better. Individually, a student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better and met either of the following standards: for the indoor season, finished the regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the top 48 in a relay; or for the outdoor season, participated in any round of the NCAA Championships.
Wyoming hosts the Powder River Dual with Montana State on Jan. 17 in Gillette, Wyo.