Tiger Track to Kick Off Outdoor Season at Rhodes Open
March 17, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis track and field squads will kick off the outdoor season, Saturday, at the Rhodes Open Meet. The all-day meet will be held on the track at Rhodes University.
"I'm excited to start our outdoor season," said head coach Kevin Robinson. "We look forward to competing in Memphis and getting the season underway with some positive performances."
A sizable contingent of teams will travel to Rhodes for this outdoor meet, with Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri, Ole Miss and Middle Tennessee among others bringing teams to the event.
"We won't be bringing our full team," said Robinson. "Many of our athletes still need to recover from a grueling indoor season, so we'll be pretty thin this weekend and next."
Memphis' indoor season concluded with two Tigers (Knut Syversen, Karlis Pujats) earning second-team All-American status. Pujats finished in a tie for ninth in the pole vault, with his 5.25m (17' 2.75") mark placing him less than four inches away from a first-team mark.
Syversen battled injury and gutted out a 15th-place finish for his second-team nod; in doing so, he became the program's third indoor All-American in as many years; Steffen Nerdal was an indoor All-American in 2009 and 2010.
Coach Robinson and his staff expect big things from a number of Tigers once outdoor season commences, including three regional qualifiers from last season. Senior Richard Lowe and juniors Jerome Leslie and Robert Jackson were each regional participants in 2010, with Lowe and Jackson moving on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Jackson continued his winning ways during indoor season, coming away with his second consecutive Conference USA Indoor medal in the 60m hurdles, and his first gold during indoor; he also won gold in the 110m hurdles, last season, at the C-USA Outdoor Championships.
Javelin thrower Casey Carl will make his debut this weekend. The Memphis native attended Bethel University last season, winning the Mid-South Conference javelin championship.
With outdoor season underway, the Tigers will get several women's performers back from injury or redshirt. Former regional qualifiers LaShundra Kershaw, Tayanna Simpson and Marina Vojinovic are scheduled to return to a young Tiger team that lacked much upper-class leadership during indoor season.
"We're excited to be bringing back our redshirts, as well as Casey," said Robinson. "We're very excited to see what Casey can do in a Tiger uniform."
After this weekend, the Tigers will travel to Baton Rouge for the Purple and Gold Invite, hosted by LSU.