BYU Picked Third in MWC Preseason Poll

BYU senior and 2002 All-MWC team member Laura Nielsen was named to the 2003 Preseason All-MWC Team. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In a vote of the eight head coaches in the Mountain West Conference, BYU has been picked to finish third for the second consecutive season, the MWC announced today. The Cougars, who were finalists in the 2002 MWC Tournament, received 36 points.

Utah was picked to finish first after earning five of eight first-place votes and 47 points. Colorado State was the other team to finish above BYU with one first-place vote and 41 points. Following BYU was San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming, New Mexico and Air Force.

Five teams were represented on the 2003 preseason All-MWC team, which is also selected by the league's head coaches. BYU senior and 2002 All-MWC team member Laura Nielsen was the lone Cougar selected for the team. Last season, the 6-foot-1 middle blocker was a top-10 performer in attack percentage and blocks in the MWC.

BYU will open its summer practice schedule Friday at 5 p.m. With 21 players on its current roster, the Cougars will have intense competition, as they get ready for their season opener.

The Cougars will open their 2003 schedule Aug. 29-30 at the University of Florida Tournament, where they will face Florida, American and Rutgers.

BYU will then travel to Springfield, Missouri, where it will participate in the Southwest Missouri State Tournament. Held Sept. 5-6, the Cougars will take on Arkansas, Saint Louis, North Texas and SMSU.

The BYU Mizuno Classic presented by Courtyard Marriott will be held Sept. 12-13, where the Cougars will make their season debut at home. They will play host to Penn State, Ohio State and Rice.

BYU's MWC schedule will kick off as it welcomes Colorado State (Sept. 26) and Wyoming (Sept. 27). The MWC Championship will be held in San Diego, Calif., Nov. 20-22, at San Diego State University.

2003 Mountain West Conference Preseason Coaches Poll

Rank Team (1st place votes) Points '02 Finish

1. Utah (5) 47 3rd

2. Colorado State (2) 41 1st

3. BYU 36 4th

4. San Diego State (1) 35 2nd

5. UNLV 23 5th

6. Wyoming 22 6th

7. New Mexico 13 7th

8. Air Force 7 8th

2003 Preseason All-MWC Team

Player Yr. Pos. Team

Kim Turner* Sr. MB Utah

Aspen McPartland Sr. MB SDSU

Michele Rauter Sr. OH Wyoming

Kelsie Kartchner Jr. S Utah

Laura Nielsen Sr. MB BYU

Setter: Melissa Courtney Jr. Colorado State

Libero: Lindsey Kerr Jr. Colorado State

* Preseason Player of the Year Selection