Track & Field Opens Outdoor Season at Bulldog Invitational
March 26, 2004
MEMPHIS-The University of Memphis Men's and Women's Track & Field teams will open up the outdoor season at the Bulldog Invitational hosted by Mississippi State University at the W.O. Spencer Stadium / Carl Maddox Track. The meet begins at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
2004 Bulldog Invitational ScheduleMemphis Men's Track & Field Preview
The Tigers enter the 2004 outdoor season with high expectations. Memphis returns both NCAA Championship competitors including double-medlaist Mate Nemeth and 2003 C-USA Male Outdoor Athlete of the Year Gaute Myklebust. The Tigers are very strong in the throwing events and have capable athletes in the sprints, distance and jumping events as well.
Traditionally Memphis has produced elite sprinters. The Tigers lost last year's top sprinter Gary Nemeth to the 2004 Olympic Games. Nemeth, a native of Hungary, has temporarily left the university to train for the Olympics as part of the Hungarian 4x100m Relay team. Nemeth's father is the coach of that team in Hungary. Still the Tigers have talent in this area. Senior Ivan Williams has had a tremendous offseason of training and appears poised to become a top sprinter in the conference and bid for an NCAA Regional Qualifying spot in the 200m dash. As a true freshman, Willie Green proved why he was a prized recruit from the Peach State when he placed third in the 60m dash at the C-USA Indoor Championships. A hamstring injury prevented him from competing in the outdoor season, but a healthy Green has all the tools to be an impact sprinter for the Tigers in 2004. Adding depth to the men's sprint corps is senior Michael Woods. Woods is a capable sprinter that has improved with every year of training. He could be a pleasant surprise for the Tigers this year. In the hurdle events, Preston Taylor returns for the Tigers. Taylor ranked in top 10 of C-USA as a sophomore in the 100m hurdles. Taylor, standing at 6'4", possesses the tools of a good hurdler. Newcomer Daniel Kiss is expected to make a big impact for the Tigers. A former Hungarian national Champion in the 110m hurdles, Kiss competed in the European Championships and his best time in the 60m hurdles compares very favorably to the best times posted in C-USA last year. Freshman Larry Harris joins the team this year. A local high school standout at Cordova HS Memphis, Harris may be the future for the Tigers in that event. Austin Hunter, a former college soccer player has developed into a solid 400m man for the Tigers. Now entering his sophomore year, Hunter is experienced and should climb the rankings in C-USA in 2004.
The strength of the Tigers team in 2003 was their distance corps. That group may be even stronger in 2004. Led by C-USA Double-Medalist Mate Nemeth (3000m steeplechase, 5000m Champion), the Tigers will be a force in the distance events. Nemeth returns for his senior campaign and sets his sights not on only repeating as a conference champion, but perhaps advancing to the finals of the NCAA Championships in the steeplechase which he just missed in 2003. Sophomore Istvan Kerekjarto qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the 800m and 1500m run in 2003 as a freshman. The coaching staff loves his potential and believes Kerekjarto can accomplish a lot before his career is over at Memphis. Newcomers Michael Mentz, Szabi Karadi, Abraham Shaposhnik and Szilard Toth all have strong credentials as distance runners. Mentz won his first race as a Tiger winning the 800m with an impressive time and may be the strongest of the newcomers. Collectively, the Tigers can potentially accumulate a lot of points in the distance events at the conference championship meets.
NCAA rules allow a team to enter four competitors in each event. The Tigers look to take advantage of that rule in the throwing events this spring. Coach Kevin Robinson has assembled a very talented group of throwers that may be as a good as any group in the country. Returning Double-Medalist and NCAA Championship Qualifier and 2003 C-USA Male Outdoor Athlete of the Year Senior Gaute Myklebust looks to add to his trophy case in 2004. Competing overseas this past summer in amateur competition, the native Norwegian produced marks in the shot put and discus that rival the top marks posted last year at the NCAA Championships. The C-USA 2003 Indoor Shot Put Champion and NCAA Regional Qualifier Adam Martin is back for his senior season. Martin competes in all four events (shot put, discus, weight throw and hammer) with the hammer throw being his strongest, as he is a top five thrower in C-USA. Senior transfer Stein Syverson is a former Norwegian Junior Champion in the discus and shot put. In his first meet as a Tiger, he matched Myklebust's performance in both events and challenges his teammate in those events. Freshmen Darius Frye and Norbert Guylas will jockey for the final spot as a thrower. Although young, both have shown ability as throwers.
After an absence of competitors in the jumping events in 2003, the Memphis brought in two athletes to compete in these events in 2004. Junior College Transfer Janon Busby was a top-five finisher in the high jump and National Champion in the triple jump at the NJCAA Championships in 2003 while competing at Wallace State in Alabama. Busby gives the Tigers an instant boost in those two events. Freshman Cody Rushing was the Tennessee High School State Runner-up in the pole vault in 2003. He is the first pole vaulter to compete for Memphis since 1999 C-USA Champion Christos Adamides.
Memphis Women's Track & Field Preview
The University of Memphis Women's track team opens its season this weekend at the Bulldog Invitational this weekend. The Lady Tigers enter the 2004 Outdoor Track campaign looking to build on last year's success which saw the Lady Tigers send their first ever competitor to the NCAA Championships and place sixth overall as a team in C-USA. The Lady Tigers are very young this year with 22 of 29 roster members being underclassmen. Memphis has only two seniors on the 2004 roster.
With the loss of NCAA Qualifier Keenan Gibson, the Lady Tigers are looking for a candidate to compete with the top sprinters in C-USA. Junior Chanel Dunn may be that aspirant. In 2003, Dunn qualified for the 100m dash finals at the C-USA Outdoor Championships, but did not compete in the finals due to an injury. She finished in the C-USA top 10 rankings in both the 100m and 200m dashes in 2003. Dunn qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the 100m. She has gotten stronger heading into her junior season and looks to fill the shoes of Gibson and establish herself as the Lady Tigers top sprinter in 2004. Sophomores Josetta Brooks and Sue-Ann Bowen are both capable sprinters. As true freshman, they improved with every meet and are better conditioned entering their sophomore years. Brooks, a strong, powerful runner, is a hurdle specialist. She placed seventh at the 2003 C-USA Outdoor Championships in the 100m hurdles. She also competes in the 100m. Bowen is a tall long strider that specializes in the 400m. She ranked in the top 10 of C-USA in the 400m in 2003. Junior Sheena Ohlig is a veteran sprinter for the Lady Tigers. A multi-talented athlete, she has competed in several events for the Lady Tigers. Ohlig placed sixth in the 100m hurdles at the C-USA Championships. Her experience and versatility as sprinter and hurdler is a valuable asset for the Lady Tigers. The young Lady Tigers have strength in numbers in the sprints. Sophomores Tabitha Russell and Zsofia Nagy and freshmen Ashley Harris, LaShunda Flake, Alicia Marner and Franicia Barnett will all compete for the Lady Tigers. Coach Cash hopes that multiple sprinters in this young group will surface this spring as sound runners.
The Lady Tigers had four distance runners on the roster last spring for the outdoor season and two of those runners were true freshmen. Memphis failed to score a point in an event over 400m at the 2003 C-USA Championships, but Coach Cash and Coach Jonas Holdeman believe they have solved this problem by signing nine new distance runners within the last year. With 12 distance runners on the roster for 2004, including a stable of 10 able sophomores and freshmen, the Lady Tigers future in distance events appears bright. Leading the way is former standout Memphis soccer player senior Ali Baker. Baker, known for her endurance as a soccer player, joined the Memphis cross country program last fall and became the Lady Tigers top runner. She could be a top ten competitor in the conference in the 800m and 1500m. Freshmen Kara Cassel, Becca McMahon, Mary Claire Dake, Michel Wilson and Daniele Riendeau separated themselves from the group in cross country this fall and finished as the Lady Tigers top scorers. Track is a different type of running, but the confidence is there that their progression will carry over to the track. As true freshmen, these runners have ability, and are lacking only experience before they begin competing with the top runners in C-USA. Junior Nora Nemere has trained well and hopes to give the Lady Tigers a boost on the long distance events. She competed in the 5000m at the C-USA Championships in 2003 and looks to climb into the top 10 in 2004. Adding depth to the squad sophomores Heather Woolls, Karin Brooks and Shermekia Plez along with Freshmen Brittany Pieraccini, Sarah Janecek and Kimberly McVeigh.
The Lady Tigers strength in 2004 will be in the jumping events. Three-Time C-USA Triple Jump Champion, Lisa-Marie Hyman returns for her senior year. Hyman won her third triple jump crown in 2003, set school records in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump and her personal best 12.67m was good enough to qualify her for NCAA Regionals. Hyman may have to be her best as a senior in order to defend her triple jump titles. Besides competition from other jumpers around the conference, Hyman's teammate, freshman Cassandra Harding may be tough to fend off in the triple jump. Harding was a highly touted prep star in Texas and one of the top athletes to ever sign with the Memphis women's track program. Her top marks in high school rivaled Hyman's mark that won the conference. Two-sport star Victoria Crawford will join the Lady Tigers for the outdoor season. A member of the Lady Tiger basketball team, her natural jumping ability is evident in the field events where she excels. Crawford ranked in the top-five in C-USA in the triple jump and long jump in 2003 and also competed in the high jump and shot put. Sophomore Lindsay Cade is a high jump specialist. A tall slender jumper, Cade has an opportunity to surpass her best marks as a freshman and climb up the rankings in C-USA. Freshman Shelly Alexin joins the team this spring. A successful prep jumper, Alexin is versatile and will compete in the long jump, high jump and triple jump and competed in the pentathlon in high school. Sophomores Josetta Brooks and Tabitha Russell have both competed in the long jump at Memphis, as did Junior Sheena Ohlig. It's probable each will see action in jumping events this spring.
Memphis Track & Field Notes
Hungarian Pipeline Plentiful for Memphis Track The Tigers and Lady Tigers currently have nine Hungarians, five hailing from the City of Budapest, on their respective rosters including some of Memphis's best athletes. Distance runners Mate Nemeth (Szekszard, Hungary) and Szilard Toth (Pecs, Hungary) are top runners in C-USA. Nemeth is a three time conference champion and Toth enters this weekend's C-USA Indoor Championships as the league's top-ranked mile runner. Gary Nemeth (Sopron, Hungary), although absent this spring as he prepares for the Olympics, was the Tigers top sprinter in 2003. Nora Nemere (Budapest, Hungary) is the Lady Tigers top long distance runner and Zsofia Nagy (Budapest, Hungary) is an active sprinter for the Lady Tigers. Daniel Kiss (Budapest, Hungary), a newcomer on the squad is a top contender in the 60m hurdles and Istvan Kerekjarto (Biatorbagy, Hungary) is a top middle distance runner for the Tigers. As a freshman he qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the 1500m and 800m. Norbert Gulyas (Budapest, Hungary) is a freshman thrower on the team with a bright future and Szaboles Karadi (Budapest, Hungary) is a distance runner on the squad.
Tiger Throwers a Force Memphis has a collection of top throwers that arguably rivals that of any in the country. Led by 2003 C-USA Male Outdoor Athlete of the Year, senior Gaute Myklebust; Memphis has the potential to score many points in the shot put and weight throw competitions. Myklebust advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships after winning the 2003 C-USA Outdoor Championship in the shot put. Last Year's 2003 C-USA Indoor shot put champion was senior Adam Martin. Martin enters this year's competition as the highest ranked thrower among Memphis competitors with a season best mark of 16.19m which he threw at the ASU Kickoff Klassic (12/7). Martin also competes in the weight throw and is a contender in that event. Senior transfer Stein Syerson has the ability to challenge both Myklebust and Martin in the shot put. Syverson is a former Norwegian Youth Champion in that event. Freshmen Darius Frye and Norbert Gulyas are also talented throwers and present a bright future for the Tigers after the three seniors graduate.
Like 2003, Distance Runners are Tigers strength in 2004 Led by NCAA Championships Qualifier Mate Nemeth, Memphis has a solid group of distance runners in 2004 that could amass numerous points at the C-USA Indoor Championships. Nemeth is the defending 3000m indoor champion and 5000m indoor runner-up. He holds the school record in the 5000m run at 14:52.78. Newcomer Szilard Toth is favored in the mile run. His time of 4:11.59 is best in C-USA. Teammate Istvan Kerekjarto ranks second in the mile run with a time of 4:11.77. If the Tigers are hoping for a 1-2 finish in the mile run. Michael Mentz could push for a top-six finish in the 800m run. Abraham Shaposhnik and Szaboles Karadi would have to run their best times to score points, but are both capable distance runners that provide a bonus for the Tigers.
Hyman Sets School Record in the Triple Jump at C-USA Indoor Meet Lisa-Marie Hyman has won three of the last four C-USA Triple Jump Championships. Winning the 2002 Outdoor, 2003 Indoor and 2003 Outdoor Titles, Hyman is trying to become the first Lady Tiger to win four conference championships in one event. Already the first Lady Tiger to win three conference championships in one event, Hyman looks to add to her legacy. Despite earning a personal best mark and new school record of 12.98m at the C-USA Indoor Championships, Charlotte's Sharonda Johnson won the competition with a leap of 13.08m
Lady Tigers are young kittens in 2004 On the Women's team, 22 of the 29 athletes are underclassmen with 15 freshmen and seven sophomores on the squad. Lisa-Marie Hyman and Ali Baker are the lone seniors on the team. Though Baker is a senior, it is her first year running track for the Lady Tigers. Freshmen and Sophomores that competed at the C-USA Indoor Championships are: Lindsay Cade (High Jump), Cassandra Harding (Triple Jump, Pentathlon), Kara Cassel (3000m), Josetta Brooks (60m hurdles), Daniele Riendeau (800m), Michel Wilson (800m), Sue-Ann Bowen (400m), Zsofia Nagy (200m), and Mary Claire Dake (Mile Run).
Memphis's Top Sprinters Not Available for 2004 Season Junior sprinter Gary Nemeth has left the team this spring to train for the 2004 Olympic Games where he will compete for his native Hungary as a member of the 4x100m Relay team in Athens this summer. Nemeth's father is the coach of that team and they began training for the Olympics in December 2003. Nemeth qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the 200m and was the anchor of the Tigers 4x100m Relay Team. The Lady Tigers top returning sprinter is not academically eligible for 2004. Junior Chanel Dunn, who qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Regionals in the 100m, will not be available for competition this spring. She continues to train with the team and anticipates regaining eligibility for the 2005 season.
Tigers Top Hurdler Out with Stress Fracture Daniel Kiss, the Tigers top hurdler and potentially one of the top hurdlers in C-USA will miss 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his right leg. Kiss suffered the injury training just before the C-USA Indoor Championships. He competed at the meet with the injury, but did not perform to his potential with the injury. Kiss is questionable to return in time for the C-USA Outdoor Championships on May 13-15.
Former Soccer Star, now Lady Tigers top Distance Runner Ali Baker, a former soccer standout at the U of M joined the Memphis track team as a senior in 2003. She has asserted herself as the top distance runner on the Lady Tigers squad. Her time of 2:20.82 ranks in the Top-20 of C-USA.
Green Returns to the Track for the Tigers Willie Green who missed all of last year's (2003) outdoor season and this year's (2004) indoor season with a left hamstring injury has returned to full-training in anticipation of the 2004 outdoor season. A sophomore from Augusta, Ga., Green is a former high school state champion and as a true freshmen he placed third in the 60m at the 2003 C-USA Indoor Championships. Green is potentially one of the top sprinters in C-USA when healthy.
Injuries a Big Problem for the Tigers The Tigers lost sprinter Willie Green (hamstring) for the indoor season. Hurdler Danile Kiss (leg stress fracture), jumper Janon Busby (ankle), distance runners Mate Nemeth (achilles), Szaboles Karadi (back) and thrower Gaute Myklebust (shoulder) were all hampered by injuries during the indoor season. All but Kiss are near 100 percent now and hope to put the injuries behind them for the outdoor season. Kiss is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Tigers place Fifth at C-USA Indoor Championships The Tigers were shooting for a top-three finish this year, but injuries and luck weren't on the Tigers side as they placed fifth scoring 74 points. Houston won the Men's championship with 181 points. The Cougars blew away the competition with TCU finishing a distant second scoring 99 points and Marquette placed third with 89 points. Charlotte scored 76 points to edge the Tigers for fourth place.
Myklebust Wins Shot Put, Four Tigers Place in the Event The Tigers scored 22 points in the shot put with four competitors placing. Gaute Myklebust won the event (17.42m), while Stein Syverson (17.00m) placed third, Adam Martin (16.22m) placed fifth and Norbert Gulyas (15.30m) placed seventh. Myklebust qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the shot put in 2003. He holds the school record at 18.33m. Martin won the 2003 C-USA Indoor Shot Put Championship, but was unable to defend his title in 2004.
Lady Tigers place 13th at C-USA Indoor Championships
The Lady Tigers knew at times this year they would take their lumps with such a young team in 2004. In a disappointing showing at the C-USA Indoor Meet, the Lady Tigers only had two competitors place in an event. Lisa-Marie Hyman placed second in the triple jump (12.98m) and freshmen Cassandra Harding placed eighth in the triple jump (11.70m). The two combined to score the Lady Tigers lone nine points at the meet. TCU won the C-USA Indoor Championship scoring 125 points. They were followed by USF (97.50) and Houston (92).