By MELANIE BRIDGE
BYU’s women’s indoor track and field team is pulling out all the stops on Saturday in their biggest team meet of the season.
The team will travel to Pocatello, Idaho, to compete in the Mountain States Games against Idaho State University, Montana, Montana State, Boise State, Utah State University, the University of Utah and other schools from the intermountain area.
Along with team members who were present for the team’s wins during the last two meets, the track and field team will unveil All-American Tiffany Lott and WAC Champion Kristel Berendsen for the first time this season. All-American Amy Christiansen will also be in competition, again after sitting out a week.
Lott will be competing in the 55-meter hurdles, an event in which she holds the world indoor record, the shot put, long jump and the 4×400-meter relay. Berendsen will compete in the triple jump and Christiansen will compete in the weights. Christiansen has already automatically qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track Championships in the shot put and 20-pound weight throw and was named WAC Track Athlete of the Week.
“We get a cross section of very good people,” coach Craig Poole said.
This meet is very important to the team because following this week, there is only one more competition in which the athletes can qualify for the WAC indoor championships and two more competitions to qualify for NCAA indoor championships.
For the older members of the team, the pressure is definitely there to qualify and improve their personal bests. But for those who are new to the team, this meet is just another opportunity to see where they are.
“This is my first year ever doing it,” said Mary Ann Brinton, a high jumper and hurdler. “I’m just going out there with personal goals to see the very best I can do.”
“It is a good workout for WAC,” added Angie Poulsen, a sprinter.
This week’s meet marks the third time that BYU has competed against ISU and USU and the second time they have run against Montana and Montana State. Competing against the same teams every week makes it hard for a team to improve because the times remain the same.
“It puts us at a tremendous disadvantage (and) gets old,” Poole said.
For BYU’s top runners, these meets are not a challenge because there is not enough competition for them. However, for the rest of the team, just competing against BYU’s top athletes is enough of a challenge.
“Teammates are tough competition,” said Ashley Westphal, a 400-meter runner.
“The people on our team is what really pushes me,” Brinton said.
BYU is the defending WAC champion in indoor track and finished 11th at the NCAA indoor track and field meet last year. This year they are ranked third by Trackwire and are undefeated.