Cougars Head to Championships with High Hopes

The BYU track team hopes for a repeat performance of last year's victories at the MWC Indoor Championships. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Provo (Feb. 22, 2005)-The BYU men's and women's track teams head to Colorado Springs for the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships with victory on its mind and a strong desire to repeat last year's first place finishes.

With 17 different athletes already receiving NCAA qualifying marks, the Cougars are poised to win the MWC again. The women's team looks to win it sixth straight conference indoor title, while the men are chasing a fifth conference title in six years.

"Every year, our goal is to win the conference," BYU men's coach Mark Robison said. "We have a strong tradition of winning on our team."

All-American Lindsey Metcalf and super sophomore Amy Menlove will lead the women's team. Each has received provisional NCAA qualifying marks, Metcalf in the high jump and Menlove in the long jump.

"Our athletes will need to step up at the conference championships," BYU women's track coach Craig Poole said. "We expect to win."

In addition to Menlove and Metcalf, the women's team expects good things from Heidi Magill, a freshman from Orem, Utah, in the 800 meters; All-American Laura Turner and transfer Chelsea Smith, a two-time Division II cross country champion at BYU-Hawaii, in the 5,000 meters; and last year's conference champion, Kamila Rywelska, in the triple jump.

Liis Berendsen, a great all-around athlete, should be competitive in the jumps and the pentathlon. At last year's indoor conference championships, she finished second in both the pentathlon and triple jump, while finish in fourth in the long jump.

A strong distance squad that includes senior Bryan Lindsay, All-American Nathan Robison, junior Josh McAdams and sophomore Josh Rohatinsky, meanwhile, will bolster the men's team. All four have received NCAA qualifying marks this season.

Rohatinsky and Lindsay both received NCAA automatic qualifying marks in the 3,000 meters while competing at the University of Washington Invitational in Seattle on January 29.

Pole vaulters Trent Powell and Robby Pratt have faired well as of late with each receiving provisional marks within the last three weeks. Freshman Leif Arrhenius has also looked strong as of late, by throwing a personal best 20.33m/60-11.5 in the 35-pound weight throw, good enough for an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

Triple jumper Rodrigo Mendes and thrower Niklas Arrhenius also hope to defend their titles from the 2004 MWC Indoor Championships.

The women's sprint squad will look to Menlove, Challis Firl, Laura Evans-Hale and Taylor Teerlink-Law for big performances,while the men are counting on Nate Soelberg, Cody Fonnesbeck, Jake Garlick and David Chesser.

With high expectations and determined and talented athletes, the Cougars should win another MWC track and field title this weekend.

The meet begins Thursday and continues until Friday. Results will be updated and posted at the end of each day on www.byucougars.com