Finley Outshines DeStefano and Thomas at Cowpoke Open

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Courtesy Wyoming Media Relations

LARAMIE, Wyo. (May 3, 2014) – Saturday’s Cowpoke Open was another historic meet for the University of Wyoming track and field teams, as Audra DeStefano and Kereston Thomas set school records in the steeplechase and 100 meters, respectively, while Mason Finley notched the 13th-furthest discus throw in the world. The Cowboys and Cowgirls combined to win 10 events at Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex.

“We tend to do well at this meet and running on your home track is one aspect, but I think these kids are hitting their peak,” Wyoming head coach Bryan Berryhill said. “They are a little more rested when they compete at home and they are excited, but we are hopefully as a coaching staff getting them ready to hit a peak in two weeks.”

On his last attempt of the day, Finley uncorked a monster throw of 210-6 to win the men’s discus with a new personal best and break his own facility record of 205-0 the senior set at last year’s meet. The mark is just four inches shy of the school record in 2000 by Jason Gervais, who went on to compete for Canada in the Olympics that summer. Finley’s throw ranks third in the NCAA this season, just 2 feet and 9 inches off the lead, and 13th in the world, including the fourth furthest throw by an American. It is the third-furthest throw in Mountain West history.

“It was a big breakthrough mentally for him,” UW associate head coach Paul Barrett said. “He has hit some of those in training, but he has kind of been forcing it in meets. He got a PR on his fifth throw today and then kind of relaxed on that last throw and let it go. He stayed fluid with it and he knew as soon as he let it go.”

DeStefano, a redshirt freshman, took down two records with a win in the women’s steeplechase. Her time of 10:53.00 broke the facility record by 12 seconds, while her official altitude-converted time of 10:24.04 set a new school record by six seconds. Both records were previously held by Emily Higgins in 2009. DeStefano’s official time ranks second in the MW this season and 44th in the NCAA. Thomas, a sophomore, was just as impressive with victories in the 100 and 200 meters. She ran 11.65 in the 100 to improve on her own school record of 11.68 and notched a personal-best 23.85 in the 200 to move to fourth in school history in the event. Both are the fastest in the MW this season.

Wyoming also got event wins from senior Taylor Gardner in the 400-meter hurdles, sophomore McKenzie Brogan in the 400 meters, senior Candace Wollert in the 800 meters and junior Holly Page in the 3,000 meters. Gardner ran a personal-best time of 58.14 to move into first in the MW and 15th in the NCAA in the event.

On the men’s side, sophomore Scott Carter took first in the long jump at 23-6 1/4 and the triple jump at 49-2 1/4. Freshman Jordan Charles continued to cement his name in the Cowboy history books, as he finished second in two events. He ran personal bests of 10.75 in the 100 meters for 10th in UW history and 21.24 in the 200 meters for second in UW history. His 200-meter time is third in the MW this season. Junior Paul Thomas posted a personal-best 190-11 in the discus to rank 21st in the NCAA, while sophomore Tyler Anderson threw a personal-best 198-0 in the hammer. Thomas was third in his event on Saturday and Anderson was second.

Wyoming is off next weekend, before hosting the 2014 MW Outdoor Track & Field Championships on May 14-17 at the same venue.

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