Tiger Track and Field Preps for Hoosier Hills
Feb. 10, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis track and field will operate on a short week when they compete, Friday, at the Hoosier Hills Invite in Bloomington, Ind., hosted by Indiana University. The meet will run all day at the Gladstein Fieldhouse.
“The time schedule will be pretty tight,” said head coach Kevin Robinson. “Indiana’s very efficient at hosting meets like this. As a staff, we’ll have to be everywhere at once, but with the indoor set-up it should be fine. It’s a good situation for all of us.”
For Memphis, the weekend promises to provide another in a series of high-level competitions, with squads from fifth-ranked host Indiana, as well as a tough Eastern Illinois (seventh, Midwest) expected to be in attendance. Much like the McCravy Memorial two weekends ago, the level of competition will give the Tigers a gauge of where their talents are as we head in to the last few weeks of indoor track and field competition.
The weekend is a major one for the Tiger sprinters; this is the first meet of the season where they will run on a banked track, which should lead to lower times. For senior Frashod Barlow and freshmen Taurean Nixon and Jaz Davis, all of whom are fringe top-eight competitors in the 200m dash in conference right now, this weekend could provide the time that affords them a better qualifying spot in two weeks at the C-USA Indoor Championships.
“On the track, from the 200m and longer distances, it will be our final weekend of competition; next week, only the short sprints will run,” said Robinson. “This will be the last opportunity to put up a season-high and be in a better position come conference time.”
As for the Tiger throwers, following sophomore’s Andrew Miller and Tom Willcox’s personal-bests last weekend, Coach Robinson’s charges will look to see where they stack up with some of the best the nation has to offer at Indiana. With senior Knut Syversen, who currently ranks 33rd nationally in the weight throw, Memphis’ throwers will attempt to establish dominance in what has routinely been a dominant event.
The women’s squad will send a large contingent to this meet as well, and expect to have the same sort of success as the men’s squad with the runners.
“Ida (Fillingsnes) and Ellen (Kildal) were held out last week,” said Robinson. “I really hope to turn them loose this week and see what they can do after some rest.”
Sophomore Kirsten Berding, who won the high jump last week, and freshman Laura Toldy are two of many Lady Tiger field athletes who will want to use this week to establish some strong season-bests in hopes of higher seeding at the Conference Championships.
Five Tigers are the top collegiate seed in their respective events: Karlis Pujats (pole vault), Darius Lynwood (high jump), Cam Baker (long jump), Taurean Nixon (60m dash) and Brandon Williams (800m run).
Following a week of harsh weather conditions in Memphis, Robinson is happy to get his team out of the ice and into competition in what should be a solid meet for Memphis.
“It’s been a tough week, with the weather,” said Robinson. “It was hard for the fast-twitch guys to get out much during the week, but we were able to rest some. Hopefully, having that recovery time gives us an edge.”
Four Tiger track and field athletes are currently in the top-50 nationally in their respective disciplines. Syversen is 33rd in the weight throw, after the 19.55m (64' 1.75") throw he made at the ASU Kick-off Klassic, while fellow thrower, sophomore Andrew Miller, moved into a tie for 50th with his career-best 17.28m (56’ 8.50”) shot put at last week’s SIU McDonald’s Invite.
Sophomore Karlis Pujats furthered his aspirations for an NCAA Championships berth at the Rod McCravy Memorial with his school-record 5.36m (17' 7") height and is sixth in the nation.
For the women’s team, sophomore Kirsten Berding moved into a tie for 48th nationally in the high jump with a 1.73m (5’ 8”) leap at last week’s SIU McDonald’s.
Sixteen Tigers currently have top-five rankings within Conference USA, a contingent that is currently reliant on many freshmen. Of the 16, seven are first-year competitors for the Tigers, including Britta Jaarats, who is currently second in the shot put, and Darius Lynwood, who's tied for fourth in the conference in the high jump.
Pujats (pole vault) and junior Robert Jackson (60m hurdles) lead C-USA in their respective disciplines entering this weekend's competitions.
Track on the Web
For all the latest in Tigers track and field, be sure to log on to gotigersgo.com, or check out the official Memphis Tigers Track and Field page on Facebook.
Live event scoring for this weekend’s meet will be provided by Indiana University. For up-to-the-minute results, click here.