More track athletes look to qualify

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    By Lindsey Johnson

    The men and women”s track teams will host its second indoor track meet of the season Thursday through Saturday.

    The Olympic Oval meet will be the first indoor competition to take place on BYU”s campus in more than 15 years.

    The meet will be the Cougars” last before the Mountain West Conference Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    BYU sophomore Nate Robison and junior Michaela Mannova have been selected as the Mountain West Conference Men”s and Women”s Indoor Track and Field Athletes of the Week.

    Robison currently holds the top mark this season in the mile run as well as the second-fastest time in MWC history.

    Robison ran an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 3:59.70 at the Montana State University Invitational last weekend.

    Mannova broke the Husker Invitational meet record in the 3000-meter run last weekend in Lincoln, Neb. Mannova placed first with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 9:19.79.

    Mannova not only qualified for nationals, but also set a new MWC all-time record by almost eight seconds. The former record was 9:27.42, set by BYU”s Laura Heiner.

    At the Husker Invitational meet last weekend, the men”s team placed third, behind Nebraska and Texas Tech.

    The men”s team didn”t travel a full squad to Nebraska, sending several distance runners to compete at the Montana State Invitational.

    After a successful weekend at the Husker Invitational, women”s head track coach Craig Poole and distance coach Patrick Shane, were pleased with the outcome.

    “This puts us in a real good spot,” Poole said. “We think we can get a few more people qualified in some other areas. We”ll see what happens.”

    The BYU women placed second last weekend behind strong Big 12 opponent Nebraska.

    “We were second in team scoring behind Nebraska, who is a very powerful team,” Poole said. “So, overall we did well.”

    The BYU men and women”s track and field teams are ranked third and 10th respectively, according to the USTCA Team Power Rankings.

    The ranking evaluates teams based on team depth, performance and dual meet scoring potential.

    From the men”s team, long jumper Aron Szmuda will return this week to compete after taking a week off.

    Most of the women”s distance athletes, are taking the week off after exceptional performances in Lincoln.

    Schools competing at the meet include BYU, the University of Utah, Weber State, UVSC, the University of Idaho as well as several athletes competing unattached.

    The field events begin at the Smith Fieldhouse at 3 p.m. Thursday and will continue Friday at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns.

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