PROVO -- The Cougar men's and women's track teams will begin the outdoor season this weekend as they travel to San Luis Obispo, Calif., to compete in the Cal Poly Invitational. The meet will mark the first competition this year for several of BYU's top athletes who sat out the indoor season.
The BYU women's squad will lose senior All-American Melanie Steere, who finished her collegiate eligibility with the NCAA Indoor Championships. Steere recorded a 5th-place finish with a time of 4:43.76 in the mile.
On the positive side, the women's team will have strength in numbers in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The 2001 outdoor season marks the first official season for the event in women's competition, and BYU has as many as ten women who will compete in the steeplechase. Current American Record holder Elizabeth Jackson, former record holder Courtney Meldrum, and senior All-American Tara Haynes all redshirted last season in anticipation of the new event. The trio finished first, fourth and fifth, respectively, at the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer., where the steeplechase was run as an exhibition.
The men's team will also benefit from the addition of several athletes who have yet to compete this year. Junior All-American Jeff Hansen, the BYU record holder in the pole vault (17'11"), returns to action after sitting out last season. Junior Mao Tjiroze, who has run 1:48 in the 800 meters, will be back as well. He suffered nerve damage to his leg during the 2000 indoor season and has been absent from the Cougar lineup since the injury. Sophomore Curtis Pugsley will be competing in the decathlon. Pugsley recorded a 5th-place finish at the recent USA Track and Field Championships.
The Cal Poly meet will begin Friday at 4:00 p.m. with the men's and women's hammer throw competition. The rest of the running and field events will be held on Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with the women's pole vault. The last event of the day, the 1600-meter relay, is scheduled for a 3:15 p.m. start.
For complete results go to www.GoPoly.com