Three Meets in Three States Makes Busy Weekend for Cougar Track Teams
PROVO -- Representatives from the BYU men's and women's track teams will take to the road this weekend, as they compete in the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Utah State Invitational in Logan, Utah, and the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis.
The women's team will send several of their vaulters and throwers to Colorado Springs, while another group will compete at the Utah State Invitational. Leading the way for the Cougars will likely be Cathy Fuailemaa, who recorded an NCAA provisional-qualifying mark in the 20-pound weight throw in the opening meet of the season. Her mark of 58'08.75" (17.90m) easily surpassed the standard of 58'01.00" (17.70m). BYU's lineup will also be bolstered by the opening meet of shot putter Becky Meldrum, who will compete in her first meet of the season. Meldrum finished third in the shot at last year's Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships.
Meanwhile, the sprinters and distance runners will travel to Minneapolis. The Minnesota Invitational will be the opening meet for coach Patrick Shane's talented distance team. Coming off a second place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, the team will also benefit from the addition of several redshirts from last season. All-Americans Courtney Pugmire and Elizabeth Jackson will both be competing as seniors. Pugmire won the mile run in 4:53.83 at the L.A. Invitational over the weekend, and teammate Melanie Steere took first in the 800m with a time of 2:10.43.
For the men's team, the Air Force Invitational will be a good preview for the Mountain West Conference meet, as four of the six men's teams in the conference will be competing in Colorado Springs this weekend. BYU will send its sprinters, hurdlers and field events competitors to the Air Force meet, while the distance runners will run in the Utah State Invitational.
The Air Force Academy boasts one of the fastest sprint facilities in the country, which should encourage Cougar All-Americans Kenneth Andam and Thobias Akwenye. Andam recorded an NCAA provisional mark of 6.67 in 60-meters in the season opener a week and a half ago. Akwenye ran unattached in the same meet, and finished fifth in the same race. The Invitational will feature some of the best competition of the indoor season, as many post-collegiate athletes will return to compete. BYU will also have a chance for several athletes to compete in the pentathlon. All-American Curtis Pugsley will compete in the multi-event format for the first time since placing sixth in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships last spring.
The Utah State Invitational will be run on Friday, January 26. The Air Force Invitational and the Minnesota Invitational will be run over two days, January 26-27.
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