Men and Women to Visit Washington and New Mexico for Competition

Matt Weirich has Reached New Hieghts This Season and is Still Climbing (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Provo, Utah (Jan. 25, 2007) -- January 26th and 27th will mark the third competition of the short Indoor season and the first meet that BYU will be at full strength. The men will be competing at the Washington Invitational in Seattle and the women will be at the New Mexico Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.

To date the distance squads of both men's and women's teams have not competed at the meets. With the return of many All-Americans the coaches expect this meet to be a good one.

"I'm very optimistic," BYU men's coach Mark Robison said. "This meet will have very good competition and we will be taking the whole team. It's an oversized track and very good for distance events. This will be one of the few opportunities for our heptathletes to compete."

The men have been strong in the pole vault with a top three finish at last week's meet. Matt Weirich has qualified provisionally for nationals and is looking to improve his mark. He is currently ranked among the top-10 vaulters in the nation. Bob Low and Weirichs brother, Victor placed second and third with marks just shy of qualifying for nationals.

David Pendergrass has already cleared 7 feet 0.75 inches in the high jump. He is only .01 meters away from qualifying for nationals. He has the best marks in the conference and is joined by Bryce Bergen and Ammon Dahl for the top three spots in the Mountain West. BYU sprinter Nate Rencher is the top 60-meter hurdler in the conference, and Chris Carter will be running at full strength this week in the 60-meter hurdles and the 400 hurdles.

All-Americans Josh Rohatinsky and Kyle Perry will be in action and look to qualify for nationals. There are only a handful of distance runners that have qualified for the national meet so far, but in the coming weeks the race for distance champion will start to take shape.

The women have been finding success and look to continue that success as a full team this weekend.

"This should be a good meet," BYU women's head coach Craig Poole said. "Schools like LSU, Stanford, and Cal-Berkley are very fine competition. Over the next few weeks we need to put together some good marks to be in good position for conference."

The Cougars have had some great marks posted by sophomore Mindy Neeley. She is currently fourth in the nation and second in the conference in the long jump. Freshman Diane Stewart is ranked third in the conference in the 60-meter hurdles. Julie Meads Heidi Houle and Jenna Lowder are the top three 800-meter runners in the conference.

In the pole vault Kelly Furr is provisionally qualified for nationals and is among the top-10 women vaulters in the nation. She is accompanied by senior Makenzie Iorg, senior Ashley McAllister and junior Julene Kaufusi in the top five vaulters in the Mountain West.

All-Americans Amy Fowler and Kassi Andersen, as well as most of the distance squad, have not competed this season. The coaches are excited about this weekend.

"We are taking our distance team and they should come back with some good marks," Poole said.