Track and Field Claims Its First-Ever Mountain West Conference Championship
May 17, 2003
SAN DIEGO - It took a record-setting day by the entire San Diego State track and field team to end Brigham Young University's 20-year reign as the Aztecs claimed their first-ever Mountain West Conference title Saturday at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M. SDSU beat out the second place Cougars by 11 team points (217-206), breaking BYU's nation's best streak of 20 straight league outdoor titles, dating back to 1983.
San Diego State overcame a 23-point deficit entering the meet's final day, winning nine of the 21 events over the four-day championship. The Aztecs swept all of the individual awards as Shanon Meyer (Hesperia, Calif.) was named MWC Freshman of the Year, junior Nicole Ireland (Las Vegas, Nev.) received the High Point award and senior Melinda Smedley (Stockton, Calif.) was the Outstanding Performance honoree. SDSU head coach Rahn Sheffield also garnered MWC Coach-of-the-Year honors for the second time in the last three seasons (also 2001).
On Saturday, with 14 of the 21 events still left to be decided, the Aztecs used their dominance and depth in the sprint and hurdle events to overcome the BYU lead, scoring 22 points in the 400 hurdles, 25 points in the 100 meters and 27 points in the 200 meters.
Ireland was a five-time event winner on the day, claiming three individual tiles and playing a part on both of the team's first place relays. The junior won the triple jump with an NCAA regional qualifying leap of 40-03.25, a team season-best which ranks her fifth in SDSU history. Ireland then swept both the hurdle events, finishing the 400-meter race in 58.66 after recording a stadium record of 13.36 in the 100 hurdles.
Smedley, meanwhile, was also a member of the team's two winning relays, garnering four total event titles. The team's co-captain won her second straight 100-meter title with a stadium and meet record of 11.43. Just one hour later, Smedley finished first in the 200 meters, tallying another stadium record of 23.10, and improving one spot from last season's meet.
Meyer, who earlier this season earned the conference's indoor freshman of the year award, rounded out competition with a fifth place in the 400 hurdles (1:00.11) and a sixth place in the javelin (133-04). For the meet, the freshman accounted for 28.5 of the team's points after competing in seven events, including the heptathlon.
Other top-three finishes on the day went to junior All-American Tonette Dyer (Shreveport, La.) in the 100 and 200 meters, senior Jini Hogg (San Francisco, Calif.) in the 400 meters and sophomore Megan Schauermann (Vancouver, Wash.) in the triple jump.
The Aztecs previous best finish in the conference's four-year history was third behind BYU and second place Colorado State in each of the last two seasons. San Diego State finished fifth in the inaugural Mountain West Conference championship in 2000 and the school's last and only other women's track and field conference title came in 1982.
The Aztecs will take a week off to prepare for the NCAA Regionals at Stanford, Calif., May 30-31, followed by another two-week break before the NCAA championships in Sacramento, Calif., June 11-14.
2003 MWC Championships
Final Team Scores