The Mountain West track and field championships have arrived in town.
Hosted by Fresno State, the meet will run Wednesday through Saturday at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium and showcase 11 women’s programs and seven men’s programs.
This is the first time Fresno State has hosted a conference championship meet since the 2007 Western Athletic Conference finals at Warmerdam Field.
Bulldogs senior Je’Nia Sears, a three-time NCAA qualifier, will be seeking the second Mountain West outdoor championship of her career. The Edison High alumnus won the long jump in 2014 after clearing 20 feet, 1 3/4 inches. She redshirted during the outdoor season last year.
21 feet, 9 inches Fresno State record set last month by long jumper Je’Nia Sears – the third longest jump in the country this season.
Sears last month set the Fresno State long jump record at 21-9 – the third longest jump in the country this season.
Fresno State distance runner Annemarie Schwanz also will be vying for gold after placing runner-up in the 1,500 meters – and less than a second out of first – last season.
Schwanz, who holds the school record in the 1,500, owns the fifth fastest time in the NCAA this spring at 4 minutes, 14.89 seconds. She also ranks in the top 30 in the 5,000-meter run and owns the school record in that event at 16:05.58.
The Bulldogs’ Kyra Johnson will try to defend her conference title in the 400-meter hurdles. Johnson is the Fresno State record-holder in the event and has recorded the 28th best time in the country (58.04).
Buchanan High graduate Taylor Smith , a junior at Air Force, will try to defend his his high jump title while returning to this high school track. Smith won last year’s high jump at 7-0 1/4 and he’s cleared 7-1 twice this season.
In addition, Mountain West defending high jump champ Taylor Smith of Air Force will be returning to his high school track.
Smith, a junior, graduated from Buchanan in 2013 and earned two top-four finishes in the CIF California State Championships .
Smith, who won last year’s high jump after clearing 7-0 1/4 , has cleared a personal-best 7-1 twice this season.
Night of Champions – Marvelle Harris and Jill Compton were named Bulldogs of the Year at the ninth annual Night of Champions Gala on Monday night.
Harris capped his senior season by becoming Fresno State’s all-time leading scorer while leading the Bulldogs to their first Mountain West championship in men’s basketball. He was also named an All-American and MW Player of the Year.
Compton has helped the Bulldogs back to the national rankings and a second straight conference championship. Last season, she was selected MW Pitcher of the Year and named to the all-region team.
Director of Athletics’ Team Award for community service to the equestrian team after members put in nearly 500 hours of service.
George Ilg Newcomer of the Year Awards to men’s golfer Trevor Clayton and women’s swimmer Ugne Mazutaityte.
Paul Schechter Courage Award to senior women’s lacrosse goalie Meganne Weissenfels.
Giant Step Academic Awards to Cezar Guerrero of men’s basketball and Lindsay Ruiz of swimming and diving.
CLUB RED Bulldog Spirit Awards went to Maggie Eppright from volleyball and Justin Northern of football.
Harold Haak Memorable Moment Awards were given to women’s tennis player Galina Bykov and men’s basketball player Julien Lewis.
Softball – Fresno State junior outfielder Kierra Willis earned the third Mountain West player of the week award of her career after helping the Bulldogs sweep a doubleheader at Nevada that extended their nation-leading winning streak to 21 games.
Willis went 5 for 8 (.625) in the two games with a 1.875 slugging percentage and a team-high 15 total bases.
Heading into their final regular-season series, the Bulldogs (39-9-1, 20-0 MW) moved up one spot to No. 17 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll and to No. 19 in the USA TODAY/NFCA rankings.
Headed for an NCAA Regional next week, Fresno State could wrap up an undefeated run through the conference with three victories against UNLV (23-29, 7-14), which is next-to-last in the nine-team standings. Game times at Margie Wright Diamond are 6:05 Thursday and Friday, and noon Saturday.
The NCAA field will be announced at 7 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.