Utah Valley University head track and field coach Scott Houle released his first indoor and outdoor schedule as a member of the Western Athletic Conference on Tuesday, and it features meets throughout six western states and culminates with the hosting of the WAC Outdoor Championships in mid May.
"Our schedule has to be built around qualifying times and getting our kids to run, throw and jump a little bit faster and further than they did last year so we can get them to perform well at the WAC Championships," Houle said. "We had to place a stronger focus on our schedule this year because the WAC is a tougher league than we've been apart of in the past. But we're looking forward to challenges that lie ahead and think that our schedule will help our kids achieve their goals."
The men's and women's track and field teams, which both dominated during their five seasons in the Great West Conference by winning 12 league titles (10 outdoor and two indoor), will not only host the 2014 WAC Outdoor Championships on May 14-17 but also the fourth annual UVU Collegiate on March 28. Both meets will take place at the Hal Wing Track and Field in Orem.
Both the men and women will kick off their 2014 indoor seasons this weekend at Boise State, as they'll take part at the Jacksons Open and Multi's in Nampa, Idaho. The opening season track meet for the Wolverines will run all day Friday at the Jackson Indoor Track in the Idaho Center.
Following this weekend's meet, UVU will be off until the New Year when it participates at the BYU Invitational on Jan. 9-11. The Wolverines will also compete at Idaho State on Jan. 18 and Jan. 31-Feb. 1, back at Boise State on Feb. 7-8 and at Weber State on Feb. 19-21 during the indoor season. Their first-ever WAC Track Championship will then take place Feb. 26-28 at the University of Idaho prior to the NCAA Indoor Championships at the University of New Mexico on March 7-8.
Utah Valley's men and women begin their outdoor seasons at UNLV on March 7-8. The Wolverines will then head to Southern California the following weekend to take part at the Oxy Distance Carnival (at Occidental College), as well as Cal State Fullerton's Ben Brown Invite. UVU will then come home to host its lone regular season meet of the season on March 28 before heading to Utah and Weber State on April 11 and 12, respectively.
"We always enjoy hosting the college meet because it gives the kids the opportunity to compete where they train and spend most of their time practicing," Houle said. "It's also fun for our fans and university to be able to come out and watch the kids compete for our program. We'll also be hosting a high school meet on March 29, which is a great opportunity to bring thousands of people here on campus to see track and field at UVU. It's also a great recruiting tool for us."
The Mt. SAC Relays, as well as Azusa Pacific's Bryan Clay Invitational and Long Beach State's Beach Invite, will come next for UVU (April 16-19) before ending the month of April at BYU (April 23-26). The Wolverines will then head back to Ogden for their final regular season tune-up at Weber State on May 7 before hosting the WAC Outdoor Championships the following week.
"We're thrilled to be hosting our first WAC Outdoor Championship in May," Houle said. "We're looking forward to bringing in all of the teams and introducing them to our track. We've hosted a championship meet before (in the Great West) and it went really well, so hopefully we can put on another good showing for the WAC this time."
The 2014 NCAA first and second rounds will then take place May 29-31 at the University of Arkansas. The NCAA final round will then be held June 11-14 at the University of Oregon. A contingent of Wolverines have competed at the NCAAs in each of the past four seasons.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.