Track & Field Gears Up for First Big Sky Championship
"We're going into a conference championship with a group of very tough programs," head coach Eric Houle said. "If we can go in and be consistant with what we've done this season and in the past, we will find success and my hope is that we will find ourselves somewhere in the middle of the pack."
The T-Bird sprinters enter the championship ranking among the best in the conference, as Shaun Murray leads the Big Sky in the 55-meter dash with a converted time of 6.32 and Preston Myers ranks first in the 200-meters with a season best of 21.78. Murray also ranks second in the conference in the 200-meter dash with a season-best time of 21.82, while Myers' 55-meters time of 6.39 ranks third.
Penthathlete Shaye Maurer currently leads the conference in both the 55-meter hurdles (7.86) and the penthathlon (3774), and will also compete in the 55-meter dash, high jump and long jump at the championship. Maurer currently ranks 31st in the nation in the pentathlon, as well as 48th in the 60-meter hurdles.
Three-time Big Sky Athlete of the Week Kayla Kovar will lead the throwers at the championship, competing in both the shot put and weight throw. Kovar currently ranks first in the conference and 33rd in the nation in the shot put with a season-best mark of 52-4. Kovar's season-best weight throw mark (58-1.25) ranks fourth in the Big Sky. Jennika Wright and Chris Johnson also recorded qualifying marks in the shot put.
Jumper Alex Anderson also holds a top-three Big Sky position going into the conference championship, ranking second in the triple jump with a season-best mark
48-7.25 recorded at the Lumberjack Challenge. Stephen Wilson will also represent the jumpers at the championship, having qualified in the long jump.
The distance squad enters the championship at full force, with Ryan Barrus at the head for the men and Jamie Smith leading the women. Both athletes currently rank in the Big Sky top six in the mile, 3,000-meters and 5,000-meters. Clinton Rhoton, Kirsten Bradford and Sylvia Bedford will also be among the competing T-Birds, ranking among the conference bests in their respective events.
The Thunderbirds will immediately jump into outdoor competition following the indoor conference championship, travelling to Las Vegas, Nev., for the UNLV Invitational on Mar. 1-2.