The stakes are high as BYU’s men’s and women’s track and field teams divide forces to make a presence at two meets this weekend with the hope of getting the best marks for many top performing athletes.
Although the indoor season is halfway done, for many Cougars this will be the first meet they compete in, which will allow them to set a good mark for the season.
The two facilities, Washington and Air Force, assist the athletes in different ways. Because of the “lightning fast track” as Patrick Shane, head coach of women’s track and field, said of the Air Force facility, the sprinters and field athletes will attend the Air Force Team Challenge.
“We always get fantastic performances there,” Shane said of the Air Force meet. “We are not holding anyone out.”
The distance runners also hope to set personal bests at the sea-level meet in Seattle.
“This weekend is our biggest week of the year,” men’s coach Mark Robison said of the Washington Invitational. “If you want to qualify [for nationals] you better be there.”
The track is fast and the competition is close to the NCAAs, Robison said. Not only is the facility exemplary but the runners will be competing at sea-level.
“Everyone always looks forward to this meet,” senior Justin Hedin said of the Washington Invitational. “There are a lot of elite athletes.”
Hedin, like many distance runners, did not perform last weekend in order to stay fresh and ready for Washington. Hedin and junior Ryan Waite hope to set the school record in the 800-meter run.
“Me and Ryan can work together to push each other,” Hedin said.
Talent is not in short supply at this meet. Other than returning record holders and national champions, several professional athletes will compete as well.
If the performances go well this weekend, Robison predicts BYU’s NCAA ranking of 16th will move up to 10th.
As with many athletes competing this weekend, Hedin said he hopes this race will be, “my first real big fast race of the year.”