Over this General Conference weekend, BYU’s track and field teams will divide its forces between Texas and Orem.
Most Cougars will compete Friday in Orem in the Utah Valley University Invite at the Hal Wing Track and Field Complex.
“The weather is going to be phenomenal,” BYU men’s head coach Mark Robison said. “It just gives some kids a chance that haven’t had an opportunity to compete yet, and some that didn’t compete last week.”
The Cougars competing in Orem will primarily be field event athletes and those who did not get into the Texas Relays. Most distance runners will not compete this weekend in preparation for the Stanford Invitational next weekend, which is one of the biggest meets for distance runners, Robison said.
Only a handful of Cougars will travel to the Texas Relays to compete because of the difficulty of being invited to the Thursday-Saturday meet.
“Texas is a hard meet to get in, they do it by rank,” Robison said.
There are only a certain amount of spots in each event; therefore most of the Cougars going south are sprinters and field event competitors.
Robison considers Texas’ venue, which will host regionals in a few months, one of the best in the country, second to Penn State. The stadium holds 25,000 people and is expected to have around 20,000 spectators watching this weekend’s meet.
“It is probably the best pole-vaulting competition for pole-vaulters before regionals,” women’s pole-vaulting coach Eric Rasmussen said.
BYU’s Rachel Fisher, Christen Guenther and Victor Weirich will all compete this weekend in pole-vault.
“Traditionally, it is a huge meet,” Rasmussen said. “The stands are always full and so it is really exciting. It is a good tradition for pole-vaulters to come. Texas has a lot of good pole-vaulters … it is a really big deal. We usually get a couple athletes in.”
With favorable jumping weather and elite competition, Rasmussen hopes Fisher and Guenther will jump better than their previous record marks.
The other athletes competing in individual events in Texas include Fanfan Charles and Jason Hinds in the 100 meter, Chris Carter in the 400 meter hurdles, Keith Keller and Blaine Baker in the javelin and Elizabeth Wilson, who is currently competing in the heptathlon.
The rest of the Cougars attending the meet will compete in the relays this Texas event is known for.
“They run every relay you can imagine,” Robison said. “They give at the end of the year an award for the team of the year in different relays.”
However, BYU is only planning on running a few, for the workout and to practice the logistics of the relays, such as the hand-offs.
“It is a really nice facility, good competition, good fans, people do spectacular things here,” Rasmussen said. “That’s what we are hoping for, something spectacular.”