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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sports

No. 11 Cougars return home for invitational


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The performances of Elijah Hall and the 4x400m relay team have the No. 11 ranked Cougars riding a lot of momentum as they return to Yeoman Fieldhouse for the Houston Invitational Friday. | File photo/The Cougar

Two weeks after hosting the Leonard Hilton Invitational, the track & field team is back at Bill Yeoman Fieldhouse for the Houston Invitational this Friday and Saturday.

This meet is the second of three the Cougars will host during the indoor season, where they tend to dominate the opposition. Their most recent meet at the Mark Colligan Memorial gave the Cougars even more momentum as the men shot up the Top 25 rankings.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) revealed their Top 25 rankings for Week 1 of the NCAA indoor track & field season on Monday. The men’s team found themselves ranked No. 11.

The Cougars moved up eight spots from their preseason ranking of No. 19. The performances of senior sprinter Elijah Hall, junior sprinter Kahmari Montgomery and the men’s 4x400m relay team are the main reasons for the ranking boost.

Hall owns the No. 2 time in the men’s 60m, 6.60s, and at one point held the fastest time in the world. On Saturday, he ran the fourth fastest indoor 200m time in the country, 20.76s. Hall was named the AAC Track Athlete of the Week for his performance — the fourth time Hall has received this in his career and the second in two weeks.

Montgomery ran the fourth-fastest 400m time in program history, 46.83s, winning the event. His transfer from Missouri might prove vital as the Cougars were a non-factor in the 400m last season. His time is currently No. 16 in the nation.

Meanwhile, the 4x400m relay team is running the fastest times in program history. The team of Montgomery, juniors Amere Lattin and Mario Burke and freshman Quivell Jordan own the No. 3 time in the country at 3:07.01 — the fastest in school history).

Even though this is an entirely different squad, the athletes are carrying over the success the men’s team had in the 4x100m last season.

Along with Lattin, Burke and sophomore Brianne Bethel, the men and women have a core of youthful and experienced sprinters who are carrying the program so far. However, none of them have times inside the NCAA Top 16.

This meet presents a prime opportunity for sprinters to improve their times as they take advantage of the home turf. They will need to do it this week, as the next will be a trip to College Station in a preview of the site that will host the NCAA Championships.

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