The BYU women's track team are preparing to begin the 2005 season and will be led by eight-time All-American senior Michaela Mannova.
After claiming both the Mountain West Conference indoor and outdoor titles last year, the BYU women's track team are back to continue their 22 years of conference domination as they set their sights on a sixth consecutive MWC indoor title and their fifth MWC outdoor title. The Cougars also look to improve their 15th place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and their 19th place finish at NCAA Indoor Championships.
"After a very good year and a lot of success last year, we will be a young team," BYU head coach Craig Poole said. "We will look for some repeatable results this season, and we will have some outstanding performances as well."
BYU will continue to find strength from their jumping squad including four-time All-American senior high jumper Lindsey Metcalf and All-American sophomore triple jumper Kamila Rywelska, who won two MWC titles last season. In addition, sophomore Amy Menlove will add depth in the long jump after claiming the indoor and outdoor MWC title and earning the Indoor MWC Freshman of the Year award. Senior Lindsey Sommer and Liis Berendsen, an all-around jumper and heptathlete, will also contribute much to the jumping squad this season.
Senior Jennifer Grossarth will lead the Cougars in the sprint and hurdle events along with Menlove, who both competed at the NCAA Regional Championships last year. Grossarth earned her second All-American citation in the distance medley relay at indoor nationals. After redshirting last season, Jessica Borchers will be another asset to the team as a sprinter.
The BYU distance team will look to a number of veterans for leadership this year including senior Michaela Mannova, who is an eight-time All-American. After earning three of those citations during the 2004 season in the distance medley relay, 3000 meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Mannova will finish her eligibility as she competes in the outdoor season only. Last season, she also took home the Indoor MWC High Point Total and Outstanding Performance awards along with three MWC titles.
After taking fourth place at nationals in cross country in 2004, All-American senior Laura Turner will add her experience in the 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters as she competes in the indoor season only this year. Although four-time All-American Kassi Andersen will probably not compete this season, the Cougars hope to find several younger athletes contribute in the distance races including sophomore Julie Cameron, who earned All-American honors with the distance medley relay team. Juniors Rena Chesser and Anne Heiner as well as sophomores Amber Harper, Suzanna Logan and Ruth Graham will also augment the distance team after all posting regionally qualifying times last year.
Several throwers will use their experience as they embark on their senior season like Chelsea Forsythe and Maret Komarova. Junior Candace Jones and sophomores Tiffany Rasmussen and Natasha Sua will also add depth to throwing team this year.
The Cougar women's pole vaulting squad will look to junior Kristen McGregor and sophomore Mackenzie Hobbs for experience this season. Hobbs set a season-best mark at the NCAA West Regional Championships, where she took third place with a jump of 12 feet, three and one-half inches.
With some key newcomers this season, the team may see some great things from freshman Heidi Magill, a highly recruited distance runner out of Orem, Utah. Leli Fotu will also be a top newcomer as a thrower for the Cougars. Although the BYU women's track team may be young, the Cougars should make another definite impact on the MWC and the nation in the 2005 season.