Four Tigers Head to Arkansas Last Chance Qualifier
March 4, 2010
Memphis, Tenn. - With the Conference USA Indoor Championships in the books, four Tigers will travel to Fayetteville, Ark. for the NCAA Last Chance Qualifier on Friday at the Randall Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
Junior thrower Knut Syversen has posted two NCAA provisional qualifying marks and ranks 23rd among NCAA weight throwers. Head coach Kevin Robinson would like to see Syversen throw around 21m and move into 14th or better in the rankings.
“I expect Knut needs to throw around 20.70m to make the qualifying list for the NCAA’s,” Robinson said. “Knut is ready to throw well. He is sharp, explosive and he is fit. He has been throwing really well in training. Last week at the C-USA Championships, he didn’t eat for nearly two days and for him to pull out the throw he had, it was amazing. I feel like he is physically capable and prepared to get into the national meet next week with the one last opportunity to qualify this week.”
Sophomore pole vaulter Karlis Pujats posted fifth school record vault of the indoor season at the C-USA Championships last weekend with a vault of 5.12m (17-01.00). The vault leaves him just shy of the top-30 rankings, but the track and field coaching staff believes a vault of 5.40m would qualify him for the NCAA Championships.
“My hope for Karlis will improve his lifetime best, which he set last week,” Robinson said. “It was a very emotional and gratifying jump for him to put that 17 foot jump up at the conference championships. He is a little bit farther away from qualifying than Knut is, but that doesn’t mean he is not capable. We hope he will improve his personal best this week. My hope is that he has a strong meet to springboard him into the outdoor season. Given the right conditions and the right jump, I think Karlis could make the national meet, but I am not putting that kind of pressure on him at this point.”
Freshman middle distance runners Brieuc Vandeleene and Abdi Guleed will also travel west for the Last Chance Qualifier. Coach Robinson expects the freshmen duo to have a better meet than they had at the C-USA Championships last week and springboard to the outdoor season.
“Brieuc and Abdi have not put up qualifying marks to this point, but they are both guys who didn’t perform at the conference meet,” Robinson said. “They are very capable of performing well and I want to have them a solid race to propel them into the outdoor season. They are both excited to run a fast, aggressive race and hopefully they can drop their personal bests and get motivated for the outdoor season.”
Vandeleene and Guleed joined the Tiger track team in January. The freshmen saw action in four meets prior to the C-USA Championships. The acclimation process to the indoor track caught up with the pair at the C-USA Championships as they faced unfamiliar circumstances during the competition.
“Both of these young men have only been here for half a semester and to be thrown into the conference championships that early is a tall order,” Robinson said. “Neither one of these guys have much experience on an indoor track, much less the emotion and intensity level of an indoor championship competition. You get in that meet and you get bunched up and you get boxed in and shoved in the back. Abdi actually got pushed off the track twice. These guys are getting tougher and learning what to expect in the races and becoming physical. It is all part of the learning process and I hope they can use this meet as a catalyst to propel them to the outdoor season.”
Senior thrower Steffen Nerdal has already qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The championship will be held in Fayetteville, Ark. next weekend at the Randall Tyson Track Center.