Phillip Bettis will compete in the heptathlon in search of his third MWC title. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- In search of its ninth-straight indoor conference title, the No. 7 men’s track and field team will be heading to the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. this week.
“It’s a completely different meet,” head coach Mark Robison said. “We are really excited. It is a lot of fun and it’s our last one.”
In last year’s meet, BYU finished with 159.5 points and edged out TCU by 24 points to pick up the victory. TCU is expected to be one of BYU’s biggest competitors again, along with New Mexico.
“This is a huge weekend,” Robison said. “Athletes will have to perform well and score points for us. Now we are going to require more from our guys, not just performances but getting better places.”
Many eyes will be on junior middle-distance runner Miles Batty competing in the mile. Batty broke a 31-year-old school record in the mile this season, finishing in a time of 3:55.79. The time is the fastest collegiate mile time in the nation this year.
The mile won’t be a one-man show however; Travis Fuller expects to score as well, building off a personal-best 4:02.79 earlier in the season. Senior Nathan Ogden will also be a force in the longer distance races.
In the sprints it will be consistent performers, juniors James Ghormley and James Derek McAllister. Ghormley ran a season best 6.87 in the 60-meter dash recently at the Air Force Invitational and McAllister has run in the 60-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter.
Sophomores Cade Lindahl and Sean Adams, along with McAllister have the three fastest times in the MWC this year in the 400-meter and are expected to be a valuable scoring threat for the Cougars.
In the field events, pole vault should be a strong event for BYU. Sophomore Victor Weirich cleared 5.50m (18-0.50) at the New Mexico Invitational and the performance stands as an automatic-qualifying mark and is currently ranked second in the nation. Senior Chris Little is right behind him with a mark of 5.42m (17-09.25) at the Air Force Invite and a fourth best mark in the NCAA’s this year.
Three individual champions return for the Cougars in hopes to contribute to the point scoring this year. Field events and the heptathlon should again be a strength.
“People really get excited,” Robison said. “We’ll have some phenomenal performances and it is going to be quite a test.”
Senior Leif Arrhenius won both the weight throw and the shot put last year at the meet, going for 18.23m in the shot put and hitting a mark of 20.91m in the weight throw. Arrhenius has bested those throws this year with a season best in the shot put of 18.71m and weight throw of 21.06m.
The high jump will be led by reigning MWC champ, Trevor Heiner. The senior is expected to put on another solid performance. His season best is a mark of 2.08m (6-09.75).
BYU’s third returning conference champion, Phillip Bettis will be in search of a third-straight heptathlon championship. Bettis won the competition last year with 5,489 points. His best performance this season is a close 5,418 points.
“We are healthy and feeling good,” Robison said. “We’ve got our best guys in the best places.”
The men’s heptathlon 60-meter dash will begin at 11:00 a.m. MT Thursday morning and conclude with the 4x400-meter relay at approximately 1:40 p.m Saturday afternoon.
For live scoring CLICK HERE.