Athletes Head to Indoor Conference Championships

Josh McAdams is one of the many athletes hoping for success at the 2006 MWC Indoor Championships. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Provo, Utah (Feb. 22, 2006) -- BYU's top track and field athletes will head to New Mexico for the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships beginning Thursday.

Both teams currently hold the MWC titles, the women having won the Indoor Championships for 11 consecutive years and the men having won nine of the last 10 years. The men enter the competition ranked 19th in the nation by Trackwire's Top 25. The quest for another team victory will not come easily for either team, though, as competition will be steep against the top athletes in the conference, including TCU's 17th-ranked men's team.

Pole vault hero Robbie Pratt looks for a third MWC title in his event at the Championships. His season-best vault of 18 feet 8.25 inches puts him as the highest vaulter in the conference and among the best in the world. Four of the top five athletes in the high jump are from BYU and will look to maintain their hold on the event in New Mexico. Sprinter Paul Smith has excelled in the 60 and 200 meters all season and will be stiff competition for other conference competitors. Freshman Chris Carter will make his debut at the championships, coming in ranked second in the MWC in the 400 meters.

Top names like Josh McAdams, Chandler Goodwin and Jason Dorais could ring with the sound of victory as the distance events unfold at the Championships. Other new and veteran distance athletes will also make a difference for the team. Four of the top five places in the conference standings in the mile go to BYU.

Several distance runners will anchor the women's side of competition. Among them is All-American cross country runner Chelsea Smith McKell, who provisionally qualified for nationals with her 5,000-meter time of 16:14.65. Michelle Lindsay has already set a personal best in the 800 meters this season with her provisionally qualifying time of 2:08.59. Lindsay and teammate Challis Firl are currently positioned in the one and two spots in the conference, respectively. Anne Heiner is ranked as the top runner in the 3,000 meters going into the competition.

Leli Fotu looks to throw her way to the top at the championships. Fotu, who was recently named the MWC Female Athlete of the Week, has met with success all season and threw the 20-pound weight 59 feet 9 inches last week, the second-best throw in BYU history. Kamila Rywelska is the reigning MWC triple jump champion and should make an impact on the team finish.

For more information on BYU's track and field teams visit their Web sites at www.byucougars.com and www.byutrack.com.