Track and Field Opens 2009-10 Indoor Season at ASU Kickoff Classic
Dec. 4, 2009
Memphis, Tenn.- The University of Memphis track and field teams will open the 2009-10 indoor season tomorrow at the Arkansas State Kickoff Classic in Jonesboro, Ark., at the ASU Convocation Center.
“I met with the team yesterday and I told them I expected them to compete at their highest level,” head coach Kevin Robinson said. “It is December and we are not sure where we are at. We know we are nowhere near where we want to be when it is conference time. Everybody has been training really hard and they are motivated to do very well. I am very anxious to see where our newcomers are at in their first competition that I have been with them and that gives me some exposure to where they are competitively. Some of the older athletes such as Steffen (Nerdal), Knut (Syversen), Darius (Anderson), Aaron, Tayanna and Deneen are all ready to compete. This meet serves as a wakeup call for the newcomers, where we are at, how far we have come during the fall and that gives us a reference point to come back to.”
Memphis will compete in the meet tomorrow, but will not resume indoor competition again until Jan. 23 at the EIU Mega Meet.
“I think having this meet is great because it gives us something to look forward to after training hard all fall,” Robinson said. “Last year, we didn’t do this meet and I felt like our training fell apart toward the end of the semester because we didn’t have this meet to look forward to. I think the meet gives the athletes something to focus on and motivate them through the last couple of weeks of the semester. It is a really good tool for the coaching staff to see where they should be when we return in the spring.”
Field events will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the men’s weight throw. The women’s weight throw and the men’s and women’s shot put will follow the men’s weight throw. The men’s long jump also begins at 11:00 a.m. followed by the women’s long jump and the men’s and women’s triple jump on a rolling schedule. Men’s pole vault will begin at 12 a.m. followed by the women’s pole vault and the men’s high jump also begins at 12 a.m. followed by the women’s high jump.
Running events will begin with the preliminaries of the 55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles at 11 a.m. The finals for all running events will begin at 2 p.m. with the men’s 55-meter dash and continue on a rolling schedule.
C-USA Indoor shot put champion Knut Syversen returns for his junior season and is eager to improve on his personal-best performances. Two-time All-American and two-time defending C-USA Indoor weight throw champion Steffen Nerdal is poised to set new personal-records and defend his titles in a quest for a national championship. Junior Aaron Whetstone qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships last season in the triple jump and is poised to be one of the best jumpers in program history.
“It is very exciting to open the season for Steffen, coming off a NCAA runner-up performance in the weight throw last year,” Robinson said. “I think Steffen can some special things this year. I expect some big throws from the other throwers and I am anxious to see where we are.”
Junior Darius Anderson leads the cast of returning runners this season. Anderson will be joined by 15 returning runners and six newcomers will join the Tigers in competition.
Marina Vojinovic looks to improve in her second season after finishing fifth in the shot put at the C-USA Indoor Championships last season. Vojinovic will be joined by senior Karmyn Clarke and senior Angela Wigley as the trio contends for individual titles as well as scoring points for a team championship.
“Marina is ready to throw very well and she has shown signs of big improvements during training,” Robinson said. “Although we have been training hard, I haven’t peaked the athletes for this meet. I feel like all the throwers are ready to throw far, we just have to get in the right position and compete as hard as we can.”
Senior Tayanna Simpson leads the cast of sprinters and hurdlers for the Lady Tigers entering the indoor season. Simpson posted a seventh-place finish at the C-USA Indoor Championships last season. The Lady Tigers will have nine newcomers compete in their first event on Saturday.
Results of the meet will be available at www.deltatiming.com.