Every season, the BYU women’s track and field team competes against the best teams in the nation at meets throughout the country. The Cougars annually open the indoor season with the BYU Invitational, a home meet that gives the team a chance to compete locally in front of friends and family.
The first major meet of the outdoor season typically takes place at the University of Washington at the Washington Invitational. This meet caters to the distance runners at BYU and is the first major challenge for the Cougar distance squad each season. The track at Washington is considered a “fast track” that allows runners a great opportunity to qualify for the National Championships early in the season.
During the first weekend in February, the Cougars travel to New York City to compete in the most prestigious annual meet in the nation, the New Balance Invitational. Over 200 teams compete at the meet each year and the competition offers a preview of the National Championships. The meet is also broadcast live online, giving fans throughout the country a chance to see BYU athletes compete. In 2011, the Cougars won the New Balance Invitational for the first time in school history. A year earlier, BYU finished second at the meet and Mindy McClurkin, a former BYU sprinter, won the Athlete of the Meet award for her performance for the Cougars.
Following the New Balance Invitational, the Cougars travel to a variety of meets across the country, and in 2011 attended meets in Washington and Colorado before the Mountain West Conference Championships. This season, BYU will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation indoor championships against powerhouse teams Oregon, Arizona and Arizona State.
The NCAA Indoor Championships is the final meet of each indoor season and BYU has qualified and placed at the meet in 19 of the last 21 seasons. In the past three seasons, the Cougars have finished in the top-15, including a third place finish in 2009.
Outdoor season for BYU mirrors the indoor season, as the team travels across the nation to find the best competition. Normally, the first major meet for the Cougars comes at the Stanford Invitational, a competitive early season meet that gives athletes a chance to compete in nice weather to prepare for the rest of the season.
The Sun Angel Classic, hosted by Arizona State, tends to be a major meet for the Cougars, primarily for the throwers and sprinters, who typically perform well at the meet. BYU also routinely takes a select few athletes to the Texas Relays, one of the premier outdoor meets in the nation.
For distance runners, the most competitive meet of the season comes in April at the Mt. SAC Relays. Mt. SAC is a world-famous meet that features professional track stars and Olympians in the competition. Last season, All-American Lacey Bleazard competed in a heat that featured four professional runners and ran her best time of the season in the 800-meters.
BYU also hosts the annual BYU Robison Invitational in late April every season. The competition normally comes from strong teams in the west and features every major track team in Utah. BYU also hosted a Twilight Meet in May of 2011.
In 2012, BYU will end the season in a pre-nationals meet rather than at a conference championship meet. The Cougars will face off against other top athletes that are preparing for the National Championships. Unlike indoor season, outdoor season features an NCAA Regional Meet. BYU competes in the NCAA West Regional, largely considered the more competitive of the two meets. The season ends at the National Championships. BYU has placed at the championships in 32 of the last 34 years.