Track Takes on Nations Top at Olympic Complex

Sophomore Paul Smith will compete for the Cougars this weekend at the Stanford Invitational against the nations best.

PROVO -- After competing in California last weekend, the Cougars will head back there this Friday and Saturday to compete at the Stanford Invitational in Sacramento, Calif. This weekend's competition will be on the site of the 2004 US Olympic Trails Track and Field Complex.

"First and foremost, this venue site will give the athletes the opportunity to get used to the track and field if they are going to be competing in the Olympic Trials later this summer," women's head coach Craig Poole said.

The Cougars will face head-to-head with over 40 top teams in the nation in hopes of earning more regional qualifying marks.

"We really have no idea what the competition will be like," Poole said. "However, we will be a little more serious about our competition this weekend. It is definitely tougher than last week and so we will have much different results."

The women look to make better marks specifically in the high hurdles and the pole vault. On the men's side, the distance squad will open their season at this meet.

"Stanford is the first real quality distance opportunity the team will have," men's distance coach Ed Eyestone said. "Friday's distance events will produce some of the fastest times in the country."

A few standouts will be junior Nathan Robison who after placing second in the mile at Indoor Nationals two weeks ago, will look to face the champion in Saturday's mile race and the team of 3,000m Steeplechasers Matt Adams, Josh McAdams and Rich Evanson. In addition, Lars Kjerengtroen, traditionally an 800-meter runner will step up for this weekends competition to run the 1,500-meter.

"Overall we hope we will do well," men's head coach Mark Robison said. "The reason we go to this meet is because of our regional competition. It will give us an idea of how we will stack up in the regional competition."

Additional men to watch are the pole vaulters Powell and Pratt, Chad Simkins in the 10,000-meter and several of the 800-meter runners.

"There are a lot of guys who didn't compete last week but who will compete this week," Robison said. "Above all, the competition will be some of the best we face until nationals."