Jan. 24, 2010
Jonesboro, Ark.- The University of Memphis track and field teams wrapped up competition at the Arkansas State University Invitational after two days of competition inside the ASU Convocation Center. The men’s team tallied 122 points for second place while the women’s team accumulated 128.50 points to finish second as well.
“I feel pretty good about the team scoring,” Robinson said. “On the men’s side we didn’t have Darius Anderson, Guy Hudson, Jerome Leslie or Nicholas Harold so we had a lot of key contributors out. The rest of the guys stepped up and did a pretty good job so I feel pretty good about things. Obviously we still have a lot of work to do and it is still early in the season and we are not as sharp as we need to be. Our teams are hungry and motivated and this is a good place to start.”
Senior thrower Steffen Nerdal picked up where he left off at the ASU Kickoff Klassic a month ago, as he increased his NCAA leading weight throw distance to 22.81m (74-10.00). With his throw today, Nerdal breaks his personal and school record throw of 22.54m (68-08.50). Junior throw Knut Syversen finished second in the weight throw with a toss of 18.72m (61-05.00).
“Steffen threw 74’10” and that puts him at least a meter ahead of everybody else in the country,” head track and field Coach Kevin Robinson said. “He is under a significant training load and I hate to even try to estimate where he will be at come NCAA Championship time. He is on fire and he is dominating everything he does right now. When he peaks, barring injuries, he is going to be amazing.”
“It is really exciting to be at this point and I am way ahead of where I thought I would be at this point,” Nerdal said. “Obviously, a personal record in January is amazing. It is comforting to get a good mark this early in the season. I went home to Norway for four weeks to train over Christmas break. I was able to train well and work on the explosive stuff and I am always trying to get faster and stronger. I guess that training paid off today. I am still playing around with the weight and we will get serious with that closer to the NCAA Championships.”
Junior Marina Vojinovic finished first in the women’s shot put with a throw of 14.29m (46-10.75). Senior Karmyn Clark joined Vojinovic in the top-three with a second-place throw of 12.58m (41-03.25). The men’s shot put saw junior Knut Syversen and senior Seth Major struggle to post winning marks, but both Syversen and Major finished in the top-five while freshman Tom Wilcox ended the final round in second place with his throw of 16.11m (52.10-25).
“It was a disappointment today,” Robinson said. “Both Seth and Knut are struggling even though they are throwing well in training. They are not bridging the gap between training and competition right now. Tom did a phenomenal job today and increased his lifetime personal record significantly. He put himself at the top of the conference in his second meet ever. Tom did a great job but the other guys have to step it up and when the time comes they will be ready.”
Senior Angela Wigley collected her first career victory in the women’s weight throw toss of 16.55m (54-03.75). Coach Robinson was all smiles when talking about Wigley’s first victory.
“Angie Wigley has been with me for four years and this is her first collegiate record in her four years,” Robinson said. “She had a lifetime best today and did a great job. She was so sick that she almost missed the bus to make the trip here. To do what she did today is impressive and I am proud of her for that.”
Junior LaShundra Kershaw took home first place in the women’s 55m dash with a time of 7.16. Kershaw finished second at the ASU Convocation Center earlier this season with a 7.06. Freshman Holly Joiner finished eighth to add one point for the Lady Tigers. Kershaw finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 25.73. Freshman Monica Mason also finished in the top-five with her time of 25.88.
Mason posted her first career collegiate victory in the 400m dash with a time of 57.96. Sophomore Keyona Neal finished third in 58.57 seconds.
After tying for third place in the ASU Kickoff Klassic, freshman high jumper Kirsten Berding took home her first individual crown with a first place jump of 1.63m (5-04.25). Sophomore Vivian Haynes finished third with a leap of 1.53m (5-00.25).
“I am satifisied with my place today, but I can jump higher than that,” Berding said. “I am frustrated that I jumped 1.63m again. I am excited to win and I am proud to wear the Tigers uniform and get first place toward the team scoring.”
“Kirsten does a great job and she is very hard on herself with lofty expectations,” Robinson said. “She at some point will have to back off and look at the fact she won the meet and did what she needed to do. Whether she is or not, I am proud of what she did. She is the ultimate competitor and she did a great job today.”
Junior Deneen Kirk also picked up an individual title, winning the women’s long jump with a leap of 5.59m (18-04.25). Kirk had a busy day as she finished third in the pentathlon with 3,269 points. Haynes finished sixth in the pentathlon with 2,975 points followed by Desiree’ Blow in seventh-place with 2,972 points.
Junior Frashod Barlow posted a third-place finish in the 55m dash with a time of 6.52. Sophomore Robert Jackson finished fifth in the 55m hurdles with his finish time of 7.81 seconds. In the 400m dash, junior Richard Lowe collected the individual crown with a time of 49.34 seconds. Lowe finished third in the 200m dash with a time of 22.53 seconds. Freshman Stephan Ender finished fourth in the 200m with a time of 49.73 seconds.
Freshman distance runner Brieuc Vandeleene finished second in the men’s mile run with a time of 4:19.15. Junior Edwin Kipkorir finished sixth in 4:28.54.
Sophomore Karliss Pujats posted a second place finish in the men’s pole vault. Pujats vaulted 4.92m (16-01.75) in his first meet with the Tigers.
The Tiger track and field teams will return to action next weekend at the Kentucky Invite in Lexington, Ky.