BYU Set to Defend Conference Title

PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's track teams travel to the Air Force Academy this week to defend their Mountain West Conference crowns.

The Cougars, who have won every Mountain West Conference title in both indoor and outdoor track since the conference was created in 1999, are favored to continue their conference domination this week.

"We have the people to win the conference again this year," BYU men's head coach Mark Robison said. "We just need everybody to step up and do the things we know we can do."

The BYU men won last year's indoor conference title with a total of 214 points. Colorado State finished second with 132.5 and Air Force was third with 130.

Three Cougars that won titles at last year's indoor championships will be looking to defend their titles this year. Greg Flint won the 400 last year and is tied for the third fastest time in the conference this year behind teammates Matt Nielsen and Kish Beverley.

Jeff Hopkinson won the 800 title and has the second best time in the conference in that event behind teammate Mao Tjiroze. The final returning indoor conference champion for the BYU men is Jeremy Kemp in the pole vault.

The BYU women's track team has never lost at a conference meet and looks to claim their 12th straight conference indoor title, includingnine in the Western Athletic Conference prior to joining the Mountain West Conference.

"Winning the conference is important to me, the staff, the kids and the school but I never really have any expectations coming in," BYU women's head coach Craig Poole said. "I just have a desire for every kid to perform at their best level for this meet. "

Last year, the Cougar women won the conference indoor crown with 203 points, distancing themselves from runner-up Colorado State, who finished with 141 and third-place UNLV with 98.

The BYU women return two indoor conference champions from last year's meet. Jamie Cottle won the 800 title last year and has the second fastest time in the conference this season. The other returning champion is Lindsey Thomsen in the 5000, who ranks third in the conference this year behind teammates Tara Northcutt and Devra Vierkant.

The meet starts tomorrow (Thurs., Feb. 21) and concludes on Saturday. For a complete schedule of events, go to