BYU track: top-27 track athletes head to MPSF Indoor Championships

By Steven Tew

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20 2013 7:03 p.m. MST

PROVO, Utah – The top-27 athletes on the BYU women’s track and field team head to Washington this weekend for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships for one last chance to qualify for nationals.

“The expectation this year is to give our athletes an opportunity to compete at a high level,” BYU head coach Patrick Shane said. “The MPSF is the most competitive conference in America because of the number of top-25 teams. Anyone who’s able to qualify and compete in this meet gets an experience they can’t have anywhere else.”

Kelsey Brown, who is ranked second in the MPSF and seventh nationally in the 800-meters (2:04.94), is the only Cougar who has already qualified for Nationals. Brown recorded her top-10 time during the Washington Invitational, her first 800 of the year. Due to a recent hamstring injury, Brown has not competed in the 800 since then but is now healthy and ready to compete.

“After a few weeks of recuperating, Kelsey (Brown) is running at race-speed again,” Shane said. “She’s a talented athlete. If she can get enough rest after all the training she has done, she will do really well this weekend.”

Elizabeth Wilson, the highest-seeded athlete for BYU in the MPSF along with Brown, is set to compete in the triple jump and the pentathlon. In the triple jump, she currently ranks second in the MPSF and 64th nationally (12.27m). In the pentathlon, she ranks fourth in the MPSF and 33rd nationally (3762 points).

Wilson is also ranked eighth in the MPSF in the long jump and 93rd nationally but will not compete in the event during the championships.

Rachel Fisher is set to compete for the conference title as the Cougars’ top pole vaulter. So far this season, Fisher has finished first in four out of five meets. During the Armory Collegiate Invitational, she finished sixth with her highest vault of the year, 4.10m.

In the 400-meter race, Nicole Rudd Bringhurst and Natalie Stewart are set to compete. Rudd is currently ranked 22nd in the MPSF with a time of 56.45, and Stewart is ranked 29th with a time of 57.11.

In the distance races, Erica Birk, Candace Eddy Carlisle and Laura Young are set to compete in the 3,000-meter race, and Lindsey Sowards Nielson will compete in the 5,000-meter race.

Birk is currently ranked 10th in the MPSF in the 3,000 (9:31.77), while Carlisle is 13th (9:34.95) and Young is 15th (9:41.22). All three are expected to contend for the title.

Nielson is currently ranked ninth in the MPSF in the 5,000 and 57th nationally with a time of 16:34.76. She is expected to finish in the top-10 during the race.

The meet begins on Friday at 12 p.m. PST with the women’s weight throw at Dempsey Indoor Track.

Steven Tew is an SID at BYU Athletic Communications. He can be contacted at wtrack_sid@byu.edu

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