BYU favorite to win title

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    By Ben Wilkinson

    The BYU Cougar men”s track and field team starts the defense of its Mountain West Conference title Wednesday, May 14, at the University of New Mexico.

    “The conference meet, to this point, will be the most important meet of the year,” head coach Mark Robison said.

    BYU will face some stiff competition this year from Colorado State University. BYU beat the Rams by only 14 points in the MWC Indoor Championships earlier this year.

    “Colorado State gave us a heck of a run for our money indoors,” Robison said. “We just barely beat them. So it”s going to be a dog fight between us and Colorado State.”

    The Cougars enter the conference meet having nine individuals and two relay teams ranked first in the conference. BYU also has nine athletes ranked second in the conference, eight ranked third and nine ranked fourth.

    “We look really good on paper,” Robison said.

    BYU looks good in three events: the 400-meter dash, 800-meter run and pole vault. The Cougars have the top three runners in the 400 and the top four athletes in the 800 and pole vault.

    Senior Matt Neilson, sophomore David Chesser and junior Matt Rowe have the three fastest times in the conference for the 400.

    Junior Chad Simkins, sophomore Lars Kjerengtroen, freshman Jacob Gustafsson and sophomore Scott Adams are the top four rated runners in the 800.

    In the pole vault, freshman Robbie Pratt is ranked first, followed by sophomore Trent Powell, senior Mark Barry and junior Erik Rasmussen.

    Other athletes ranked first in the conference are Kip Kangogo in the 1,500-meter run, junior Greg Flint in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, sophomore Matt Adams in the 3000-meter steeplechase, senior Aron Szmuda in the long jump, junior Dan Arrhenius in the shot put, junior Curtis Pugsley in the decathlon, the 4X100 meter relay team and the 4X400 meter relay team.

    “We look at it as us against everyone else,” Robison said. “We”ve been the dominating team, and everyone else is trying to do everything they can to knock us off, and we know it.”

    Dan Arrhenius, ranked fourth, looks to defend his conference championship in the discus, while other athletes ranked second look to win this weekend. Those athletes include sophomore Cody Fonnesbeck in the 100-meter dash, sophomore Nathan Robison in the 1,500, Kangogo in the 5,000-meter run, Szmuda in the triple jump and junior Devin Scoresby in the decathlon and high jump.

    “The conference is going to be exciting, the conference is always fun,” Robison said.

    The MWC Conference meet runs through Saturday, May 17, in Albuquerque.

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