Looking to Win in Vegas at MWC Championships

With the MWC Outdoor Championships approaching, the BYU track teams are looking for final another set of men's and women's titles.

PROVO -- With the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championship title vividly on their minds, the Cougars are heading to Las Vegas to claim the 2004 MWC Outdoor Conference men's and women's titles.

The women will be looking to clinch the outdoor conference title this year, having finished second in the conference in the 2003 outdoor season. Before the 2003 season, the women's team claimed the conference outdoor title for the last 21 consecutive years.

"We'll do our best, but it's going to be a close meet," women's head coach Craig Poole said. "I know we'll face some tough competition, but we have a great group and we'll compete very hard to win another championship."

With similar success, the men's team looks to win its seventh outdoor championship title in the last seven years. The team has won 20 out of the last 21 indoor and outdoor conference titles.

"Our main goal is to first win the championship," men's head coach Mark Robison said. "Although we'll have to perform very well, we definitely have a shot to win it and are very optimistic."

Several BYU athletes in both running and field events will enter the conference championships with the top conference marks this season along with junior Kassi Andersen, who holds the top collegiate time in the world in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Both men's and women's coaches will be strategizing to place the right amount of talent and depth in each event.

With conference competition starting Wednesday with the heptathlon and decathlon, the Cougars will look to increase the number of their regional and NCAA marks in many events, including these multiple-event competitions.

"Our other goal is to have some more regional and NCAA qualifiers this week at conference," Robison said. "We also want to see our decathletes improve their marks this week in order to be NCAA automatic qualifiers."

Competition in the running and field events starts Friday and continues through Saturday afternoon when the conference will hold an awards ceremony and announce both individual and team awards.