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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Track & Field

Cougars will meet stiff competition in Tempe

Although the Cougars focused on relays last weekend in Austin, they will have an opportunity to improve their individual marks at this weekend's Arizona Invitational in Tempe. | David Shih/The Dialy Cougar

After a successful weekend in Austin, the Cougars will head west to Tempe, Ariz., where Arizona State University is hosting the 31st Annual Sun Angel Track Classic. Weather will likely not be a factor in the Arizona climate, so the Cougars are expecting to improve on personal-best marks.

With five personal records set last week and significant improvements in the relay events at last weekend’s meet, head coach Leroy Burrell said the team should be excited by the remainder of the season.

“We’re going in the right direction. We have some things to look forward to over the next several weeks. Especially in the individual events, we can really get some athletes some good marks,” Burrell said.

Kalyn Floyd missed the Texas Relays with hamstring soreness, while several other athletes competed with injuries. The Cougars hope they can recover before Friday, but Burrell said health took precedence over training for some athletes this week in practice.

“Kalyn was a little bit dinged up. Tara Prier wasn’t quite at full strength with a knee issue. Grecia Bolton’s knee was still bothering her a bit, but we pulled through,” Burrell said. “This week we’re just going to get back and get some people healthy; that’s our priority.”

Burrell said the competition level of the meet should be as high as it was at the Texas Relays. Among others, Burrell said the host team will provide ample opposition this weekend.

“It’s going to be a pretty competitive meet. Arizona State has a talented team. There will be some other national caliber teams there as well,” Burrell said.

Since the focus of the previous meet was the relays, Burrell said this weekend’s meet gives the team a chance to focus on the athlete’s preferred individual events. The events will be divided in sections in which athletes will be matched up against other competitors with similar times.

“With a meet like this, it allows us to give the athletes the opportunity to run individual events and get them seeded properly to the level of competition that they‘re capable of competing with, so that‘s going to be our goal for this week,” Burrell said.

Although this will only be the Cougars’ third full meet of the outdoor season, there are only three more meets remaining after this weekend’s event before the Conference-USA Outdoor Championship starts May 13 in Orlando. The Cougars are hopeful that their trip out West will boost their chances for multiple appearances at the NCAA Championship meet.

“We’ll hit the track, try to iron out our bumps and bruises and head out to Arizona and see how we do,” Burrell said.

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