Track and Field Preps for Final Tune-Up Before Conference Indoor Championships
Feb. 17, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis track and field will travel to Cape Girardeau, Mo., Friday, for the Redhawk Invite, their final indoor regular season tune-up prior to next weekend’s Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, hosted by Houston.
The Tigers are going with a smaller contingent this week. Only short sprints and hurdles and the field athletes will compete, with no longer sprints, middle distance or distance runners competing. The other runners will stay behind in Memphis and continue training and preparation for next weekend's championships.
This meet will be one of the final indoor tries for a couple of Tigers that are on the cusp of being NCAA Championship qualifiers. On the men’s side, senior Knut Syversen sits in a tie for 24th in the nation in weight throw after his 20.00m (65’ 7.50”) toss at last week’s Hoosier Hills Invite.
Syversen, the 2009 C-USA Indoor champion in shot put, has yet to qualify for the NCAA Championships as a Tiger; twice, he was a regional qualifier in outdoor season.
Among other Tigers who could earn a bid into the NCAA’s with exceptional performances over the next couple of weeks is junior hurdler Robert Jackson, who is less than three-tenths of a second away from a mark that would comfortably put him in contention of an NCAA bid, and sophomore thrower Andrew Miller, whose 17.28m (56’ 8.5”) toss at the SIU McDonald’s will need to improve to at least 60 feet for him to have a shot at the NCAA’s.
Both Jackson and Miller lead Conference USA in their respective disciplines going into this weekend.
On the women’s side, sophomore high jumper Kirsten Berding needs to improve her season-best 1.73m (5’ 8”) high jump by two and a half inches to move into the top-20 nationally. Berding, who was all-conference during indoor and outdoor season in 2010, currently stands at sixth in the conference.
One Tiger has pretty much clinched his status in the NCAA Championships. Junior pole vaulter Karlis Pujats and his school-record and conference-leading 5.36m (17’ 7”) vault at last month’s McCravy Memorial still places him tied for seventh in the nation.
To earn an automatic qualifier, Pujats will need to have a 5.50m (18’ 0.5”) mark prior to the NCAA Championships, Mar. 11-12, in College Station, Tex.
Memphis will compete in this one-day meet, beginning Friday, and will have an extra day of rest and training before next weekend’s C-USA Indoor Championships.