By Mitch Lamb
The BYU men?s and women?s track teams will use the momentum they gained after repeating as the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track and Field champions as they head to the NCAA Regional tournament in Eugene, Ore., this weekend.
Winning the MWC title gives the men?s team six consecutive championships while the women received their 23rd in 25 years.
While the women?s team is accustomed to winning, this victory was especially sweet.
?Our performance in Fort Collins was superb,? Women?s Head Coach Craig Poole said. ?We rallied from 15 points behind to win by 47.Everybody did their part. Everybody put forth the effort and we came away with the win.?
Although the women had to come from behind to win, the men easily ran away with the title, scoring 280 total points.
Sao Paulo native Rodrigo Mendes continued his record-breaking season with a jump of 55 feet, 2.25 inches in the triple jump, setting the MWC all-time record and the MWC championship record.
?Out team has done really well,? Mendes said. ?It always helps to have good competition when you are competing.?
Although Mendes has met tough competition thus far in the season, it?s about to get even tougher. Mendes, who is currently ranked No. 1, will jump against the No. 2 and No. 4 jumpers in the nation this weekend at regionals.
?I jump better with competition,? Mendes said. ?My goal is to jump 56 feet, qualify for nationals and beat the school record.?
Mendes jumped 56 feet earlier this season but due to a strong wind the jump did not count.
Teammates Matt Anderson and David Pendergrass followed Mendes? lead and finished in the top five of the triple jump with third- and fifth-place finishes, respectively.
The Cougars will also look for big performances from women?s MWC triple jump champion Kamila Rywelska, who tied her own conference all-time record last week, and 100-meter hurdler Amy Menlove, who has been one of the leaders all season.
After the regional tournament, which starts on Saturday, the Cougars will have a week off before they head to the national tournament in Sacramento, Calif., on June 8.