Men’s track wins MWC title; women finish second


    By Ben Wilkinson

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-BYU captured its fourth straight Mountain West Conference men”s title and sixth straight conference title with a total score of 270 points.

    “That must be a conference record for points,” MWC Co-coach of the Year Mark Robison said. “Everyone we brought scored points for us.”

    It was the second highest point total for the Cougars in the MWC meet; the previous high score was 286.5 points in 2000.

    In what was supposed to be a closely contested meet, BYU wound up running away from Colorado State Saturday, which came in a distant second with 230 points.

    BYU was in the lead after the first day. The Cougars racked up 21 points in the decathlon with a first place finish by junior Curtis Pugsley and a second place finish by junior Devin Scoresby.

    Friday, May 16, saw Colorado State take a nine-point lead over BYU. The Cougars had excellent individual performances but saw those wiped away by Colorado State senior Drew Loftin and a first, second and third place finish by the Rams in the hammer throw.

    Loftin, the MWC High Point and Outstanding Performance winner, placed first in the hammer throw setting a MWC record of 233 feet, and placed first in the discus with a throw of 197 feet. Loftin also won the shot put Saturday with a throw of 57 feet 7 inches.

    BYU countered with 26 points in the pole vault and 13 points in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. MWC Freshman of the Year, Robbie Pratt, won the pole vault after clearing 17 feet 8.5 inches and sophomore Matt Adams finished second behind Colorado State”s Nike Nicks in the steeplechase with a time of 9 minutes 16.85 seconds.

    Senior Aron Szmuda won his second straight MWC long jump title on Friday with a leap of 24 feet 10 inches.

    On the final day of competition, BYU distanced itself from Colorado State winning eight events while Colorado State won just three.

    The 4X100 meter relay team started the day with a first place finish in a seasonal best time of 40.10 seconds.

    Sophomore Nathan Soelberg, who won the 100-meter dash in a lifetime best of 10.34 seconds, was one Cougar that shocked everyone.

    “No one ever would have guessed the winner of the 100,” Robison said.

    Sophomore Kip Kangogo won the 1,500-meter run and came back to win the 5,000-meter run two hours later.

    “Kip was amazing,” Robison said. “To win the 1,500, then come back and win the 5,000. That was just amazing.”

    BYU also went on to take the first three places in the 400-meter dash and took first in the 800-meter run. Senior Matt Nielson with a time of 47.07 seconds, sophomore David Chesser with a time of 47.16 seconds and junior Matt Rowe who finished with a time of 47.28 seconds, combined to go 1-2-3 in the 400 and junior Chad Simpkins won the 800 with a time of 1:49.88

    BYU set two conference records, in the 400-meter hurdles and the 4X400 meter relay. Greg Flint won the 400-meter hurdles in a personal best and conference record time of 49.81 seconds beating the old mark by 0.01 seconds. The 4X400 meter relay team won in a record time of 3 minutes 9.21 seconds, beating the old mark by 0.27 seconds.

    “I”m extremely pleased,” Robison said. “We had a lot of personal best and regional qualifying times. I could not have asked for anything more.”

    Next up for the Cougars is the NCAA West Regional Qualifying Meet, May 30-31, in Palo Alto California.

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