Women’s track to go outdoors in next meet

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    By CAMILLA SCOTT

    Fresh from its sixth-place finish in the NCAA championships, BYU inaugurates its 2000 outdoor season at the Cal Poly Invitational March 17-18 in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

    Last year’s outdoor season saw the Cougars run away with their ninth consecutive WAC championship and an eighth-place showing in nationals. In the 2000 outdoor season, the Cougars hope to do much of the same.

    “The goal now is to try qualify for outdoor nationals,” Sharolyn Shields said.

    BYU wants to take as many athletes as possible.

    Shields, who will focus her training on the 3,000 and 5,000-meter events, was one of the athletes cut from indoor nationals by the last-chance meets.

    “Now I want to show them what I had,” Shields said.

    After losing athletes to these last-chance meets, BYU hopes to qualify as many as possible for nationals in the first few outdoor meets and then work through the season to improve those marks.

    There are no last-chance meets in outdoor track because the season is longer than indoor and athletes need the week before nationals to rest, Shields said.

    The NCAA outdoor championships take place during the first week in June.

    In route to the championships, many athletes are facing new events while others look to improve their marks from indoor.

    Jenny Holman, a freshman for BYU, will compete in the 400-meter hurdles for the first time.

    “It’s a new experience,” Holman said.

    Though she wasn’t very fond of the hurdles at first, she has learned to enjoy them and is excited to work hard at this event. She also participates in the 4×400 relay.

    Salote O’Reilly is another athlete who added a new event to her resume after coming to BYU.

    Before coming to Provo, O’Reilly ran the hurdles. The coaches noticed her strength and helped convert her to the throw events. In outdoor, O’Reilly throws the 20-pound weight and the hammer.

    O’Reilly said throws require more technique than her former running events and she is working on that aspect as well as her mental preparation. At the MWC championship, O’Reilly improved her weight throw mark by four feet.

    “As long as there’s a steady improvement, I’m happy,” O’Reilly said.

    And she’s confident she will see it.

    After the weekend’s meet, BYU will split into two squads to compete in the Stanford and Arizona State University Invitationals March 24-25.

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