Track and Field Branching Out This Weekend
April 21, 2011
Live Scoring - Mississppi Open
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis track and field team will split up this weekend, with portions of the squad going to three different meets in the days preceding the Easter holidays.
Friday, the distance and middle distance runners will travel to Arkansas to compete in the John McDonnell Invitational, while the throwers and pole vaulters will meet in Nashville for the Vanderbilt Invitatonal. Saturday, the throwers and vaulters will meet up with the rest of the squad in Oxford, Mississippi, for the Mississippi Open.
It will be a wild weekend for head coach Kevin Robinson and his squad, which will hope for fairer weather than they have competed under in the previous two weekends.
Even with the inclement weather, the Tigers have had a strong outdoor season and look to improve it this weekend. An eye should be kept on the middle distance runners, in both the men’s and women’s events; they’ve shown steady improvement over the last few weeks, and the John McDonnell meet typically produces some of the fastest times in the country.
At last week’s War Eagle Invite, five middle distance competitors (Guy Hudson, Ellen Kildal, Jenny Johnston, Nandia Taylor, Louisa Lingley and Jasmine Darden) set personal-bests, and will look to better their times this weekend.
The throwers and pole vaulters will represent the Tigers at Vanderbilt for the first time since 2007. Sophomore Savvas Arestis will look to improve on his conference-best 54.64m (179’ 3”) discus mark, best in C-USA, while junior Karlis Pujats will look to get back in the groove in the pole vault; the indoor All-American did not start last week and no-heighted the week before at Ole Miss.
Sophomore vaulter Nate Arnold, who set a personal-best of 4.91m at Auburn, last week, has become a solid option for the Tigers, and adding a surging Pujats to the mix would improve Memphis’ chances come conference championship time; the Tigers haven’t recorded a top-three outdoor team finish since winning the conference in 2007, but were third at this season’s C-USA Indoor championships.
Everyone will convene, Saturday, for the one-day event at Ole Miss. The event will begin with the men’s hammer throw and women’s javelin at 9 a.m.; the women’s 4x100m relay will kick off the track events, tentatively scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
A host of hurdlers (junior Robert Jackson and senior Richard Lowe chief among them) and sprinters in the form of senior LaShundra Kershaw and freshman Jaz Davis will descend upon Oxford looking to improve upon marks set at the Ole Miss Invite, two weeks ago.
Junior Tayanna Simpson set the school 100m hurdles record at 13.76 in Oxford on April 9, while Lowe set his season-best 52.02 400m hurdles mark in the same meet, which still places him tied for 39th in the nation.