Feb. 5, 2010
Updated C-USA Indoor Track & Field Notebook No. 4
IRVING, Texas – Despite the rainy weather and cold temperatures across the nation, 10 Conference USA track and field teams will compete in seven different meets this weekend, while SMU and UCF will be idle.
Jumpstarting the weekend competition are East Carolina and Tulane traveling north to participate in the Penn State Sykes and Sabock Challenge. Leading the Pirates is freshman Tynita Butts who earned an NCAA provisional mark in the high jump. She cleared a league best 1.78-meters (5-10) at her first collegiate meet. Senior Olivia Kizzee will also provide a strong presence for the Green Wave in Pennsylvania. The Houston, Texas native ranks among the Top 10 in both the 60m- and 200m dash in C-USA.
Memphis will compete in the Southern Illinois McDonald’s Invitational in Carbondale, Ill. The Tigers will utilize the weekend to rest their top athletes, experiment with a few runners in various events and welcome back junior Jerome Leslie to the field after suffering an injury earlier this season. The invitational marks the Tigers’ first team scoring meet of the season and fourth straight weekend of action.
For the first time this season, Houston will split its teams into two different meets. The Cougars will send a select portion of their squad to the prestigious New Balance Invitational in New York, N.Y., while the remainder will host the Houston All-Comers Meet inside Yeoman Fieldhouse, Saturday. The Cougars hold the top C-USA marks in eight of the men’s categories including freshman Errol Nolan’s 60m, 200m, and 400m dash times. The Houston women rank atop the charts in four different categories.
Rice will split its men’s and women’s squads into two different meets this weekend. The women will travel across town to compete in the All-Comers Meet, while the Rice men join both UTEP squads at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. The Owls sport national leader Jason Colwick in the pole vault and league-leader Jack Spinks in the heptathlon. On the women’s side, reigning C-USA Female Athlete of the Week, Shakera Reece, owns the top time in the 60m dash (7.39), while tying for the top time in the 200m dash at (24.03).
The Miners will rely on the speed of league-leader Elkana Rotich and the strength of thrower Dimitrios Fylladitakis to help the UTEP men to a strong performance this weekend, while bronze Olympian Blessing Okagbare and the Garcia sisters (Kathya and Karina) lead the Miner women.
Marshall is slated to compete at the Marietta Invitational in Marietta, Ohio. The Thundering Herd will use the strengths of Brittany Carey, Andrea Jackson, Kristin Smith and LaTricia Jones to lead them through the Marietta Invitational.
Southern Miss, Tulsa and UAB are scheduled to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The men’s side will be led by league leader’s John Beattie and Steven Morrow of Tulsa in the middle and long distances, respectively, while Southern Miss’ Ramon Crockett will lead the men in the field events.
On the women’s side, Chastity Riggen of Southern Miss will utilize her C-USA second-place rank in the 60m dash to showcase her talents in the two-day competition. Tulsa’s Alex Becker will provide a C-USA presence in the women’s distance with her top mile time in C-USA alongside a strong UAB distance medley relay team.
C-USA currently sports two male automatic NCAA qualifiers in national leaders Colwick of Rice and Memphis’ Steffen Nerdal. On the women’s side, UTEP’s Okagbare is the lone automatic qualifier. The trio is joined by 15 additional athletes who have posted provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., March 12-13.
Below is a complete list of automatic and provisional qualifiers in Conference USA this season.
NCAA Automatic Qualifiers
Steffen Nerdal-Memphis-Weight Throw-22.81m (74-10.00)
Jason Colwick-Rice-Pole Vault-5.62m (18-05.25)
Blessing Okagbare-UTEP-Long Jump-6.59m (21-07.50)
NCAA Provisional Qualifiers
Tynita Butts-East Carolina-High Jump-1.78m (5-10.00)
Chris Carter-Houston-Triple Jump-15.87m (52-01.00)
Simone du Toit-SMU-Shot Put-15.69m (51-05.75)
Tori Bowie-Southern Miss-Long Jump-6.23m (20-05.25)
Chastity Riggien-Southern Miss-60m-7.40
Jackquelyn Coward-UCF-60m H-8.27
Tiki James-UCF-60m H-8.19
Micaeala Wimberly-UCF-60m H-8.29
Dimitrios Fylladitakis-UTEP-Weight Throw-19.64m (74-10.00)