PROVO — For the first time in program history, the BYU women’s track and field team will compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships against teams from the Pac-12 and Big West.
The 2012 MPSF Championships feature a loaded field that includes 14 women’s teams, six of which are currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 25. BYU is the second highest ranked team at No. 14 and trails only No. 1 Oregon. Other ranked teams include No. 16 Arizona, No. 18 Stanford, No. 19 California and No. 23 Washington.
BYU will also face off against teams from Arizona State, Cal State Northridge, Colorado, Long Beach State, UC Irvine, UCLA, Utah and Washington State.
Heading into the meet, the Cougars have athletes ranked in the top eight in nine different events. Junior Nachelle Mackie is the lone Cougar that currently holds the top spot in an event. Mackie sits atop the 800-meter rankings with her BYU record time of 2:03.56.
Seniors Katie Palmer and Lacey Bleazard are also ranked in the top eight in the 800m, making it BYU’s strongest event. Palmer ranks just behind Mackie in second with her career-best time of 2:03.79, while Bleazard is ranked sixth in the MPSF despite the fact that she has run the 800m only once this season.
Palmer is also ranked in the top eight in the mile. Her time of 4:39.83, a career best mark, ranks sixth in the MPSF.
The best team race for BYU is the distance medley relay, which ranks second in the conference behind Oregon. Sarah Edwards, Mackie, Bleazard and Palmer combined to finish the race in 11:13.62 earlier this season.
Several Cougars also rank near the top of the MPSF in the field events. Senior Christen Guenther had the second-best mark of any MPSF competitor in the pole vault this season. Her vault of 4.30m (14-1.25) set a new BYU record in the event.
Senior high jumpers Ada Robinson and Diana Blauer rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the MPSF. Both had nearly identical season best marks, as Robinson cleared 1.76m (5-9.25) while Blauer jumped 1.75m (5-8.75).
Junior Mellissa Keltner narrowly made her way into the top eight in the triple jump. Keltner is ranked eighth in the triple jump due to her season-best mark of 11.92m (39-1.25).
The Cougars have won three consecutive conference championships, but each came in the Mountain West Conference. This season they will have to duel against Oregon, the back-to-back defending MPSF champions.
The University of Washington will host the event at Dempsey Indoor Facility for the 10th consecutive season. Competition begins on Friday at 1:30 p.m. with the men’s weight throw and concludes at 8:15 p.m. with the women’s pentathlon 800m run. The first event Saturday is the men’s heptathlon 60m hurdles, which begins on 11:30 a.m. The meet will conclude with the women’s 4x400m relay at 3:40 p.m.
Taylor Wilson works for BYU Athletic Communications as a Sports Information Director for women's track and field. He can be reached at [email protected].