In his 30th and final season at the helm of the BYU women’s track and field team, Craig Poole led the Cougars through a season that included a sweep of the MWC Championships, 36 athletes named to the All-MWC team and four All-American performances.
Coming off a memorable 2009 indoor season in which two BYU athletes were crowned National Champions, the 2010 Cougars lived up to expectations, at one point reaching a number two national ranking. That ranking came after a historic performance by the Cougars at the prestigious New Balance Invitational in New York, when the team finished second and senior Mindy McClurkin was named Athlete of the Meet.
Poole called the performance at New York “outstanding” and said it was “one of the best meets of the year.” Three weeks after that feat, BYU headed to the MWC Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico to try and defend their 2009 title.
Victories in four individual events led the Cougars to a second consecutive MWC Indoor Championship. Sophomore Lacey Cramer successfully defended her 800-meter title in a MWC Championship record time of 2:05.55. Senior Mindy McClurkin, who was named MWC Indoor Athlete of the Week three times in 2010, finished first in the 200-meters, second in the long jump and third in the 60-meters. Senior Angela Wagner won the mile in 4:55.87 and sophomore Ada Robinson took home the high jump crown.
Eleven Cougars in fourteen events were named to the All-MWC Indoor team, and Poole was named MWC Indoor Coach of the Year, marking the eighth time he has been recognized as a Coach of the Year by the MWC.
Hopes were high heading in to the NCAA Indoor Championships. Cramer narrowly missed her chance to defend her 800m indoor National title, coming in second in a BYU indoor- record 2:03.89. McClurkin leapt to the medal stand with a BYU record 6.69m long jump to take second. Also named an All-American was 2009 pentathlon champion Amy Otis, who finished 13th in the pentathlon but eighth among American competitors.
With the two second place finishes building up the team point total, BYU finished 14th with 16 points, finishing in the top-15 for the second consecutive season.
Momentum from the successful indoor finish carried into the outdoor season. Despite several successful regular season meets, the team went to the MWC Outdoor Championships ranked lower than conference-for New Mexico.
After the first three days of competition at the MWC Outdoor Championships left the team in third place, the Cougars dominated the decisive final day to win the meet by 83 points.
McClurkin was awarded the High Point Award for scoring the most team points of any one individual athlete. With victories in the 100-meters, 200-meters and long jump, along with anchoring the winning 4x100-meter relay, McClurkin scored 32.5 points and broke two BYU records.
Other first place BYU athletes included Cramer in the 800-meters, Robinson in the high jump, Alyssa Christensen in the 400-meter hurdles and Kari Clark in the pole vault. Fatima Makakala, Porshe Giddings and Amy Otis were a part of the winning 4x100-meter relay with McClurkin.
Fifteen Cougars were named to the All-MWC Outdoor team and Poole was named MWC Outdoor Coach of the Year.
The strong performance at the MWC Championships carried over to the NCAA West Preliminary meet, where six athletes qualified for the National Championship meet. Qualifiers included McClurkin (long jump, 200m), Cramer (800m), Wagner (800m), Clark (800m), Robinson (high jump) and Nachelle Stewart (800m).
Rain dampened the setting of Eugene, Oregon throughout the National meet, and seemed to dampen the performance of the BYU athletes as well. McClurkin was the only Cougar that performed at the All-American level, finishing third in the long jump at 6.53m.
Looking to next season, Cramer is the lone returning All-American, but 13 All-MWC performers will be back on a team that will look to sweep the MWC Championships for a third straight season.