LARAMIE — Four University of Wyoming track and field athletes were named All-Mountain West as announced by the league office Wednesday after their performances at last weekend’s Mountain West Outdoor Championships.
Hap Frketich, Kareem Mersal, Colton Paller and Albert Steiner garnered the award for finishing in the top three in their respective events. Paller recognized in two events as the Cowboy senior won the discus and was third in the shot put.
Paller moved up to No. 6 on the UW all-time top 10 list in the discus with a toss of 189 feet to defeat the field Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Clovis, California. Before his gold in the discus, Paller began his meet Friday with a third-place finish in the shot put with a mark of 52 feet, 8¼ inches.
Mersal notched the first team points for the Cowboys with his effort in the long jump. Coming in to the meet with the best jump of the season by a MW athlete, Mersal was second in his first ever conference championships with a distance of 23-3¼. The Cowboy freshman is also No. 7 on the UW all-time top 10 list with a jump of 24-9¼ at the Spank Blasing Invite in Pueblo, Colorado, earlier this season.
Frketich was second in the hammer throw for the Pokes with his best throw of 195-3. It is the third time the Cowboy senior has been all-MW and the first time he was honored for the outdoor season with the previous two coming in the indoor seasons of 2019 and 2020.
Steiner, a former Laramie High standout, capped off the first day of the meet for the Cowboys with second place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Steiner ran finished in 8 minutes, 57.12 seconds to cement his MW honors. The sophomore is also No. 9 on the UW all-time top 10 list for his performance at the West Coast Relays two weeks prior to the MW championships.
It was the first time Mersal, Paller and Steiner were honored by the conference for their performances.
Because of COVID-19 protocols, a group of UW athletes who were key contributors for the Cowboys and Cowgirls this season were unable to compete at the MW championships.
The Cowboys finished fourth out of eight teams with 93 team points for the highest team finish for the UW men since a third-place finish in 2000. Colorado State (206) won the men’s team title, followed by Air Force (177.5) and Utah State (107).
The Cowgirls were 11th out of 11 teams. San Diego State (161) won the women’s title with Colorado State (145.5) second and UNLV (122) third.
Some notable performances for the UW women at the MW championships included: Addison Henry, who was fifth in the shot put (49-¼) for No. 6 all-time for UW; Anna Gillis, who was seventh in the hammer throw (188-0); Jasmine Cooper, who was seventh in the 800 prelims (2:08.27) for No. 3 all-time at UW and finished eighth in the finals (2:09.57); and Katelyn Mitchem, who was eighth in the steeplechase (10:45.95).
A handful of Cowboys and Cowgirls competed Sunday in the Loper Twilight hosted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Cowgirls Shayla Howell and Sadie McMullen were second and fourth, respectively, in the long jump. Howell leapt 19-6¼ and McMullen went 19-3½. Giulia Lodi was fourth in the javelin with a distance of 128-1.
Cowboys Mikey DeRock and Nathan Reid competed in discus and shot put. DeRock was third in the discus with a personal best 169-2 and ninth in the shot put at 48-11. Reid was 10th in the discus at 149-11 and 10th in the shot put at 48-8.
The Cowboys and Cowgirls will next compete May 27-29 at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships to be hosted in College Station, Texas.