Women's 2003 Season Outlook

Lisa Antonelli, Katie Martin, Lindsey Thomsen and Breanne Sandberg will play an important role on BYU's track team in 2003 season.

Run fast, throw hard and jump high. That is the simple goal of the BYU women's track coaches for the 2003 season. If the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," holds true, the Cougars don't need to change much.

This year the women's track team will battle for their 21st straight outdoor conference title and their fourth straight Mountain West Conference Indoor and Outdoor Championships. The team will look to improve on last year's ties for 16th place and 10th at the indoor and outdoor national championships, respectively.

The 2003 track and field team will be anchored by the depth of talented distance runners. All-Americans Kassi Andersen, Michaela Mannova, Lindsey Thomsen, Laura Turner, Devra Vierkant and Nan Kennard will lead the Cougars distance crew. Also adding depth will be Breanne Sandberg, Jaime Cottle and Katie Martin.

Mannova will look to defend her MWC and NCAA outdoor titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Laura Turner, who recently returned from a mission in Geneva, Switzerland, will add depth in the 5K run. She placed 14th at nationals in 1999 and 2000.

Andersen broke into her freshman track season last year with a second-place finish in the 1,500-meter run at the MWC Outdoor Championships and a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, with a time of 4:18.27. Lindsey Thomsen will be a contender in the 5,000-meter run and the 10,000-meter run, coming off a first-place finish in the 5,000-meter run at the conference championships last year.

All-American Nikki Hughes will finish her eligibility after the indoor season. Last year, Hughes won the long jump at the MWC Indoor and Outdoor Championships and finished eighth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Lindsey (Steele) Metcalf will lead the high jumpers. She won the high jump at the MWC Outdoor Championships, finished sixth at the NCAA Indoor Championships (5-09.25) and finished seventh at the outdoor championships (5-10.5). Also showing strength in the high jump, will be Candice Clifford, who took first in three regular season meets last year and jumped a season best of 5-11.

In the throwing events, Junior Maret Komarova will be a stronger competitor. Last year, Komarova placed ninth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, but this season she will focus on throws. Another thrower, Chelsea Weenig, walked on last year and has progressed quickly.

The Cougars are coming into the 2003 season after an excellent recruiting year. Joining the roster will be freshmen Stephanie Bodhaine, Liis Berendsen, Kristen McGregor, Anita Nygaard and Shalice Pugmire. Nygaard is a state champion in the hurdles, and Pugmire placed first in the 1,600-meter run at the CIF Finals. Bodhaine is a high school regional champion in the high jump and placed second at the Great Southwest Meet.

Also joining the team as transfers, will be Angela Benson, Malita Bingham, Susan Clayton, Hillary Enloe and Aneta Lemiesz.

Benson was last year's NJCAA National Champion in the steeplechase and placed second in the 5,000-meter run while at Rick's College. Bingham, also from Rick's, placed first in the region in the discus, hammer throw and shot put, and at nationals placed sixth in the discus and seventh in the hammer throw.

Coach Poole says each year's training is adapted to the athletes, but the overall goals won't change much.

"Our objectives will be the same as always," says Coach Poole. "And that will be to help every athlete do the best they can and maximize individual performance."

Tags: Feature