Six school records were broken, and the track & field team swept the Western Athletic Conference athlete of the week awards after a strong showing in the BYU Invitational Jan. 11.
“It’s a really good start,” UVU track head coach Scott Houle said. “The kids are showing that they’re ready to compete. It’s a good springboard to continue getting better through the year. I think we’ll start seeing more kids feel more confident to go out there and compete.”
In their first event of 2014, sophomore Cole Eisenhour and junior Michael McPherson garnered the men’s WAC accolades for the week of Jan. 12-18, and senior Brooke Hodson-Davies and freshman Lauren Hicks captured the women’s awards.
Three of them were among the Utah Valley record breakers at the invitational in Provo and each took first or second in one of their events.
“We always want to go in and try to maximize our talent,” Houle said of his expectations for the team. “As coaches, we’re always trying to prepare them for that. It’s starting to get where the kids expect (to break records) from themselves also.
Eisenhour set the 60-meter hurdles mark with a time of 8.15 seconds, which was good enough for him to win the event, and McPherson bettered his own heptathlon school record with 5,432 points to come in second in the event.
McPherson also outdid the former school best in the long jump, finishing with a leap of 24-03.25 (7.40m).
Hodson-Davies took the 3000m run with a time of 10:14.15, and Hicks took second in the long jump, claiming the best women’s distance in UVU history at 37-07.50 (11.47m).
Freshman Kyler Sprague and sophomore Sam Sweet were the other Wolverines to add their names to the record books, both competing in the 500m. Sprague took fourth, setting the new school mark at 1:09.12, while Sweet came in third with a UVU-best time of 1:16.47.
Houle said members of his team are focused on getting acclimated to the difficulty of competing in multiple events during an invitational or open, which applies to the majority them.
“We’re trying to get them used to doubling up, where they’re doing one event and they have to rest up and come back and do another event,” Houle said. “In the WAC championship you have to do multiple events to help your team win a championship.”
With a nice blend of upper and lowerclassmen on the roster, the track & field team appears poised to make waves during the remainder of the season and in the future.
“It gives us stability,” Houle said of the balance. “When kids are graduating and moving on, we’re not worried about what the depth of our team is going to be. We want to make sure every class that we have has competitive runners, jumpers and throwers.”
Up next for the track & field team is the Snake River Open in Pocatello, Idaho Jan. 18. The Wolverines will compete against athletes from BYU, Utah, Utah State, Southern Utah, Weber State, Westminster and Idaho State.