UVU track: Wolverine men, women win track titles

By Jay Hinton

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 5 2013 8:30 p.m. MDT

HUMBLE, Texas — For five years the Utah Valley University men's and women's track teams competed in the Great West Conference and the league has known no other champion than the Wolverines.

The Wolverines — in their final GWC Championships before moving the the Western Athletic Conference — the men's and women's teams ran away with the titles.

The UVU women scored 323 points, while Houston Baptist was second with 188 points, followed by Texas-Pan American 157.5, Cal State Bakersfield 50, Chicago State 47 and NJIT 37.5.

The UVU men scored 262 points, while Houston Baptist was second with 184 points, followed by Texas-Pan American 123, NJIT 79, Cal State Bakersfield 72 and Chicago State 50.

"It's awesome we never felt defeat in the conference," said UVU track and field coach Scott Houle, who was named the men's and women's coach of the year for the fifth straight year. "All the kids that have come and gone through here have never lost at our conference championships."

In other awards, UVU's Michael McPherson was the male outstanding athlete and best performance of the meet; Brooke Hodson-Davies was named the female outstanding athlete and Ali Shield received the award for the female best performance.

"I think the competition (in the conference) has kept the kids driven to keep working hard during the summers," Houle said. "We have always had good competition pushing us and making us want to get better."

McPherson had a big meet: 1st, long jump, 24-07; 1st, high jump, 6-01.25; 1st, 4x100 meters, 41.72; 2nd, 4x400 meters 3:17.51; 3rd, 110 hurdles, 15.09; 4th, javelin, 151-10; 4th, 200 meters, 22.19 and 7th, 100 meters; 10.98.

Houle said McPherson's jump of 24-07 in the long jump puts him in a good position to qualify for the NCAA Preliminaries. Also, Hodson-Davies and Maryn Pincock, who won the shot put (47-07.25) and the discus (162-10) for the second consecutive year, have a good chance at qualifying as well in the 3000 steeplechase and discus, respectively.

In other events Sunday, Natalie Young-Baker finished third and fifth, respectively, in the 400 meters (55.85) and the 200 meters (24.43).

The Wolverines dominated the women's 5000 meters by finishing 2 through 5 led in order by Bridget Hazel (17:44.05); Angela Blackham (18:01.33); Krystal Harper (18:08.21) and Darian Sharp (18:15.01).

The women also placed four in the 100 hurdles: Burr (2nd, 14.27); Ali Shields (5th, 14.74); Krissy Knowles (6th, 14.85) and Sally Hansen (8th, 15.23), and three in the 400 hurdles: Mykah Heaton (2nd, 1:03.85); Hansen (5th, 1:07.54) and Knowles (6th, 1:07.67).

In the women's high jump, Wolverines finished 2 through 5 led by Ali Shields (5-01.75) followed by Autumn Robertson (J5-01.75), Heaton (5-00.50) and Esplin (4-11.50), while in the long jump the Wolverines placed the top four led by Joni Warnick (10-09 followed by Lindsey Bryant (9-11.25); Gately Garnett (J9-11.25) and Shields (7-03).

Esplin won the heptathlon with 4, 567 points followed by Shield (4,188) and Garnett (4,125) were second and third, and Robertson was fifth (3.749).

The 4x400 women's relay team won the event at 3:49.02 (Paddock, Taylor Gomez, Young-Baker, Heaton), and the 4x100 women's relay team placed second (Rebecca Brown-Renshaw, Young-Baker, Paddock, Burr) at 47.88.