Track travels to Arkansas and Washington for weekend of trio meets
The men and women of the Cougar track and field team will compete in three meets in three different states over Saturday and Sunday. It marks the final set of meets before they travel to Birmingham, Alabama for the Indoor American Conference Championships.
The highlight of the weekend will be the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Cougars, hosting the Arkansas Razorbacks, are taking 18 athletes for 11 events, facing athletes from nationally ranked schools like Florida, LSU, USC, Texas Tech and UT.
Of the athletes sent, five of them are in the NCAA Top 24—the placement needed to qualify for nationals—while nine of them rank in the Top 50.
Both teams are going to score the majority of their points in the sprinting events. A total of twelve athletes—five women and seven men—will be compete in the 60m and 200m.
Senior Cameron Burrell and junior Eli Hall-Thompson are the highlights of the men’s sprinting unit. Burrell’s 6.64s 60m at the Houston Invitational is currently No. 8 on the NCAA charts, while Hall-Thompson’s 20.71s 200m at the Mark Colligan Memorial is No. 4.
Burrell has hopes of being a dual national champion at season’s end, but he hasn’t yet made a qualifying mark in the long jump.
Hall-Thompson and sophomore Mario Burke are tied for the No. 11 time in the 60m. Burke and Hall-Thompson went 1-2 at the Mark Colligan Memorial, separated by thousandths of a second.
Sophomore hurdler Amere Lattin is coming off a PR victory at the Charlie Thomas Invitational. His 7.82 time is currently No. 14 in the NCAA, while junior Trumaine Jefferson currently holds the No. 14 mark in the long jump. Jefferson will compete alongside John Lewis III, who had his first top three finish in the 60m as a Cougar.
Senior Tori Williams and freshman Samiyah Samuels will be the headliners for the women at Fayetteville.
The two are currently ranked in the NCAA Top 50 for the 200m and long jump respectively, and will be competing in the 60m with three other teammates. Together with Tonye’cia Burks, who is No. 41 in the triple jump, they will be expected to lead this youthful but talented team to their highest potential.
Distance heads to the Pacific
While the sprinters are in Arkansas, the best distance runners for the men and women will travel to Seattle for the Husky Classic.
Senior Brian Barraza will be the headliner for the men. Barraza, the school record holder in 3000m and 5000m, has kept his season to mainly the one mile and excelling in the event. He opened his season with the school record and the current No. 9 mark in the NCAA, 3:58.66.
Alongside him for the men is sophomore Cameron Laverty competing in the 800m.
Senior Selena Sierra has also translated her cross country success for the women distance runners. The lone member of the women’s team traveling to Seattle, the senior looks to break her own school record in the 5000m for the second straight season.
Pack defends the den
With all of the top distance runners, sprinters and jumpers all performing out of town this weekend, everyone else will stay to compete at the Howie Invitational on Friday.
The highlight of all the competitors will be the throwers.
Of them all, sophomore Taylor Scaife is the only one ranked in the NCAA Top 16. She had the No. 13 best mark in the weight throw, 20.44m at the Charlie Thomas Invitational and broke the school record in the event.
For the men, seniors Cameron Cornelius and Alex Garza will compete in the shot put and senior Damon Thompson will compete in the weight throw.