WAC TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS TO BEGIN ON WEDNESDAY ? BRONCO MEN OUT TO DEFEND TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
BOISE, Idaho The 2007 Western Athletic Conference track and field championships begin tomorrow (Wednesday May 9) and Boise State University will be out to defend its 2006 outdoor team title, while at the same trying to win a fourth straight league team crown in track and field.
Surrounding last year’s outdoor team championship, the Bronco men have also won the 2006 and 2007 WAC indoor titles. The Bronco women will be looking for their first league title after finishing third at this year’s indoor meet.
Competition gets underway on the Fresno State campus on Wednesday and Thursday (May 10) with the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon.
Eric Demers and Heigo Nurmsalu will compete in the decathlon, while Boise State did not enter anyone in the heptathlon. Demer’s has the second best point total in the decathlon among WAC competitors scoring 6,301 points at a meet earlier this season. Demers finished third in the men’s heptathlon at this year’s league indoor meet.
The remaining events for this year’s outdoor championships start on Friday (May 11) with Ty Axtman, Forest Braden, Becky Guyette and Eleni Kafourou, all with at least one individual WAC championship to their credit, leading the men and women’s teams.
Axtman was named last year’s WAC Outdoor Championship Outstanding Performer when he won the 1,500 and 10,000-meter runs, finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and placed fifth in the 5,000-meter run. A senior from Elma, Wash., Axtman enters this year’s outdoor championships with the league’s top 1,500-meter time at 3:48.71, and has a total of four individual league crowns under his belt. He will compete in the 800, 1,500 and 5,000-meter runs this week.
Like Axtman, Braden is also a former WAC outstanding championship performer. A senior from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, Braden won his award at the 2004 indoor championships. Braden is also a multiple WAC champion winning four individual titles in track and field, and this past season’s cross country championship. The two-time NCAA All-American has the league’s top time at 10,000 meters at 29:13.69, which is also a provisional qualifying mark to nationals. Braden will compete in the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000-meter events this year.
Guyette is the top women’s distance runner posting the league’s best times in the 5,000 and 10,000-meter runs. Her time in the 5,000-meter run is 16:54.42, while her 10,000-meter time is 34:22.41 which is also a NCAA provisional qualifying mark. A senior from Marshing, Guyette picked up her first league crown at this year’s indoor meet winning the 5,000-meter run.
Bronco sophomore Eleni Kafourou also has the WAC’s top marks in two events as the native from Greece leads the long jump and triple jump fields. Her conference leading marks this season are 20-2.50 in the long jump, and 42-8.00 in the triple jump, both NCAA regional qualifying marks. Her triple jump also currently ranks 14th in then nation. Kafourou has two individual WAC titles winning triple jumps at both the indoor and outdoor championships in 2006.
Boise State also has the top league marks in five other events. Annika Hjelm leads the women’s hammer field with a toss of 206-1, which is also a school record.
On the men’s side, Zacharias Arnos leads the triple jump field with a mark of 50-8.75, Erik Whitsitt has the top shot put at 61-9.00, Scott Viafore has the league’s best javelin throw at 232-5 and Simon Wardhaugh leads the hammer field with a mark of 219-6.
Five Bronco marks are also ranked in the top 10 nationally. Hjelm and Viafore both have the countries eighth best marks in their respective events (women’s hammer and men’s javelin), while Wardhaugh is ranked ninth in the men’s hammer. Whitsitt is 10th in the shot put while Jarrod Stevens is 10th in the men’s hammer with a toss of 218-8 this year.
All total, Boise State has a total of 18 NCAA regional qualifying marks entering this WAC Championships.
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