Track team optimistic about upcoming meets

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    By DREW PACKHAM

    Despite the loss of Leonard Myles-Mills to a knee strain, the BYU men’s track and field team is very optimistic about their chances this weekend.

    It will travel to Pocatello on Friday for the Double Dual II, and Saturday will compete in the Wilson Motor Open at Utah State in Logan.

    Head coach Willard Hirschi says his team is coming along well and Myles-Mills should be alright.

    “It’s not too serious,” Hirschi said. “He should be back in action next week.”

    While Myles-Mills will miss this weekend’s action, Kenneth Andam, last year’s WAC Freshman of the Year, will make his sophomore debut. Andam has been in his native Ghana and this will be his first action of the year.

    Coach Hirschi is glad to have Andam with the team again.

    “He’s one of our better people,” Hirschi said. “So it’s good to have him back. We’ll get to see him perform and see how he’s doing.”

    Andam competes in the 55- and 200-meter dashes, as well as the long jump and triple jump. Although this weekend will mark Andam’s first action, others on the team are starting to find their groove after the first two weeks.

    Shot putter Jim Roberts is one of these, showing no rust after returning from his mission. Roberts set a personal record last week at the Rocky Mountain Cup at the Air Force Academy and expects to continue improving.

    Also looking to continue his hot streak is senior 400-meter runner Clayton Patch, who is trying to recover from tendinitis in his knees. Despite the setback, Patch has been running well and says he should continue improving as the year goes on.

    “Right now I’m just trying to get back in shape,” Patch said. “Last year I started at 47.5 (seconds) and got better all year. This year I started at 47 flat so I’ll hopefully be able to pull some time off and get my qualifiers down for nationals.”

    While the individuals are all working on their marks, the team is gaining national recognition. On “Trackwire Online,” www.trackwire.com, a weekly track and field web site, the Cougars were rated 21st in the most recent power rankings. The rankings are based on expected outcomes at nationals.

    This weekend will be tough for the team because of the back-to-back meets Friday and Saturday, but Hirschi is looking forward to the action.

    “Each meet is about refining the skills,” Hirschi said. “Things should go well this weekend and when you get four schools together there will always be good competition.”

    In Pocatello, the Cougars will be matched up against Boise State, Idaho State, and Long Beach State. In Logan the meet will be open so there will be strong competition from schools in the area and other athletes who have already graduated.

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