BYU’s men’s and women’s track teams started the season strong with their performances in the Cougar Collegiate Indoor Invitational on Friday and Saturday. This meet hosted teams from both University of Utah and Utah Valley University.
“Coming back from the break is difficult,” men’s track and field head coach Mark Robison said. “This is an inter-squad meet that helps us gauge where everyone is, coming back from the break.”
As always there were mixed results, but the team overall pulled out several winning performances and groundbreaking marks. Being the first race of the season, enthusiasm and passion was not in short supply.
Ryan Jones, a junior who took third in the mile with a time of 4 minutes, 12.81 seconds, expressed his excitement for the upcoming season.
“This race is exactly what I wanted,” Jones said. “For the first race you want to shake off the dust and get a good mark for the rest of the season.”
Dust certainly did not exist for some BYU athletes, such as sophomore all-American Victor Weirich, who cleared 17 feet, 8.5 inches in pole vault as a lifetime best and a tie for number one in the nation, more than 7 inches higher than the nearest competitor. Robison showed confidence in Weirich’s ability to do well in upcoming meets.
“Welrich tied for number one in the nation utilizing only two-thirds of his [running] approach,” Robison said.
Freshmen Shaquille Walker and Angela Shields stepped up to the plate and proved their strength for BYU’s team. Walker, a freshman from Georgia, took first in the 400 meter dash in a stunning time of 47.96 seconds. Walker was surprised to hit his goal of a 47-second 400 meter run.
“I feel really good where my speed is at; I feel I am only going to get faster,” Walker said.
Shields, a freshman from southern Utah, also placed first in the 400 meter run with a time of 58.34 seconds and fourth in the 60 meter hurdles.