Jan. 29, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's and women's track and field teams are slated to compete in the Southern Illinois McDonald's Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Jan 30-31 in Carbondale Ill.
"As we head to SIU this weekend, I expect our athletes to improve on their performances from the past weekend," said head track and field coach Kevin Robinson. "We had some good performances last week and it was a good starting point for us. We are moving on from that and becoming more competitive."
Southern Illinois University plays host to the University of Memphis, Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Central Arkansas, and St. Louis University who bring both men's and women's teams for competition. Austin Peay State will compete with just a women's squad.
Friday's events include both men's and women's weight throw, long jump and pole vault events beginning around 4:00 p.m. Saturday's field events start at 10:00 a.m. which include men's and women's shot put, triple jump and high jump. At 10:30 a.m., the running events commence with the men's and women's 60m dash and 60m hurdle preliminary heats followed by the mile and the 60m dash and 60m hurdle finals.
The middle distance events will follow with the 400m dash and 800m run. The 200m dash finals and the 3000m run are the last individual running events of the meet. The meet's conclusion is marked with the running of the women's and men's 4x400m relay.
Last weekend at the Eastern Illinois Mega Meet several Memphis athletes performed well headlined by senior Steffen Nerdal who recorded an NCAA provisional mark in the weight throw with a first place toss of 20.23m (66-04.50).
"I think this weekend we're looking for Steffen Nerdal to step up and put on a great performance in the weight throw," said Robinson. "He's had a great week of practice and I feel like he's ready to do something really special."
Sophomores Aaron Whetstone and Jerome Leslie tied for first place in the triple jump at the EIU Mega Meet. Robinson believes that the pair stands to improve significantly after a good showing last week.
Aaron Evans won the 800m run at last week's EIU Mega Meet. Robinson expects Evans to compete in a few other events in order to judge exactly where he stands as a component of the team and where he fits in to perform at the highest level.
On the women's side, Freshman Inger Anne Froyesdal won last week's triple jump with a leap of 12.24m (40-02.00) while finishing in a first place tie in the high jump with a mark of 1.73m (5-08.00).
"I think Inger Anne (Froyesdal) is ready to compete at a much higher level," said Robinson. "We look for her to have some impressive marks this week."
Transfer from Barton County C.C. LaBritney Horton will be competing in a Memphis uniform for the first time this weekend at the SIU McDonald's Meet. Fellow newcomer Tayanna Simpson looks to progress this week after her initial performance last week at the EIU Mega Meet where she placed sixth in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.23.
"LaBritney (Horton) will be on the track and able to compete for us for the first time and we're excited to see what she can bring to the table," said Robinson. "I also think Tayanna (Simpson) is in a position where she can improve substantially after her initial meet last week."
This is the Tigers second indoor meet of the 2009 season. Following this weekend's competition at the SIU McDonald's meet, Memphis heads to Lexington, Ky. to compete in the Rod McCravy Invitational Meet on Feb 6-7.
"I think overall the expectations are greater now that we know where we're at and where we need to go," said Robinson. "I'm excited to see our young sprint group step up and perform at a higher level. This meet is just another stepping stone for us on our way to compete for a Conference USA title."