BYU Looks to Claim MWC Track & Field Titles

SAN DIEGO -- Armed with 18 returning All-Americans, including 10 individual outdoor MWC champions, the BYU men's and women's track & field teams will head to San Diego, Calif., to compete in the 2001 Outdoor Mountain West Conference Track & Field Championships. The four-day meet will begin on Wednesday, May 16, with events scheduled for the heptathlon and decathlon. The majority of the events will be held on Friday and Saturday, concluding with the award's ceremony scheduled for 5 p.m. (PDT) at the San Diego State Sports Deck.

Under the direction of head coach Craig Poole, the BYU women have won an astounding 18 consecutive outdoor league titles, while the men, who are coached by first-year head coach Mark Robison, have also won 18 titles, including 14 championships in the last 18 years.

In the women's competition, the Cougars will again enter the meet as the favorite with eight student-athletes favored in nine of the 21 events, including defending NCAA 10,000-meter champion Tara Northcutt. Northcutt has posted the league's top time in the 10K this season, recording a 33:27.59 in Palo Alto, Calif. Senior Elizabeth Jackson, who holds the nation's top time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, enters this week's competition as the favorite in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter races, while Holly Haguewood, will enter the meet as the favorite in the 800 meters with a season-best mark of 2:06.22. Sharolyn Shields-Thayer, who finished first in the 3,000 and second in the 1,500 meters at the 2000 MWC Outdoor Championships, has posted a 2:06.22 in the 1,500 this season and will look to win her second MWC individual title.

Kirsten Bolm returns for her final league championship meet, favored to win the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump. Bolm has a league-best mark in the hurdles with a time 13.33 and a top mark in the long jump with a mark of 20-04.50. Junior Jeana Bingham will look to improve upon her second-place finish at last year's meet, having posted a season-high mark of 6-00.75 earlier this season. All totaled, BYU has recorded 63 top-10 marks entering the 2001 MWC Outdoor Championships. As the Cougars' final meet before the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., BYU currently has 17 student-athletes who have compiled 22 qualifying marks, including six automatic qualifiers and 16 provisional marks.

In the men's competition, the Cougars are favored in 12 different events, including the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays. Senior Kenneth Andam leads BYU with top marks in the 100 and 200 meters, while Kish Beverly is favored to win the 400 meters. Super freshman Josh Rohatinsky is not only favored to with the 10,000 meters with a provisional qualifying time of 29:07.36, but is expected to pick up top-five points in the 5,000 and 1,500 meters.

Slade Combs is favored in the 110-meter hurdles with a league-best mark of 14.11, while Chris Kemp is the pre-race favorite in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.69. 2000 MWC Champion Jeff Hansen is again the favorite in the pole vault, while Jim Roberts is favored to win the shot put. Roberts is also ranked in the top-five of the hammer and discus. Sophomore Curtis Pugsley, who is favored in the high jump and decathlon is questionable for the meet with a sore abdomen.

Like the women, the Cougar men have also produced 63 top-10 marks entering this weekend's championship event. The men have also recorded seven qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships, including six provisional marks.

In addition to recording the point tally, BYU fans will be awaiting the outcome of this weekend's championship meet, as well as the finish of the MWC Baseball Tournament, also being played in San Diego. Currently, BYU has recorded a combined 19 regular-season and league tournament championships this season. In addition, both the BYU men and women have won the cross-country and indoor track & field league titles. A win this weekend would complete the sweep.

For a complete schedule and results for the 2001 MWC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, please visit the Mountain West Conference website at: http://mountainwestconf.fansonly.com/sports/c-track/stats/051601.html