The Warm-Up Lap: Battle in the Bluegrass State & Meets of the Week
NEW ORLEANS – With several large invitationals loaded with nationally ranked teams among the nearly 90 collegiate track & field meets taking place around the country this weekend, the 2014 season is officially beginning to ramp up.
Particularly so in Division I, where a combined 11 top-25 men’s teams and eight women’s teams in the preseason U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Team Computer Rankings will suit up for competition at either Kentucky’s Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational and New Mexico’s Cherry & Silver Invitational, both of which stretch over Friday and Saturday.
Though New Mexico may have the advantage in sheer number of ranked teams with 11 total to Kentucky’s eight and both meets feature seven members of the Preseason Watch Lists for The Bowerman, the concentration of top-10 teams and star power of the individual match-ups pushed Kentucky over the edge as the Division I National Meet of the Week.
Four-time defending indoor women’s champ No. 4 Oregon headlines a women’s field featuring three of the nation’s top six teams, while the Florida men – winner of three of the past four NCAA indoor titles after finishing runner-up in 2013 – will do battle with No. 3 Florida and three other top-25 programs.
Not to be discounted, however, should be the nation’s biggest dual meet of the weekend as Texas A&M hosts its annual Triangular on Saturday, this year with LSU and in-state rival Texas Tech.
Division II is highlighted by the Central Missouri Invitational, which takes the title of DII National Meet of the Week as the top meet hosted by a Division II program between Division II programs. Four of the men’s teams are ranked among the nation’s top 40 with numerous notable individual match-ups between national contenders.
North Central (Ill.) is the home of the Division III National Meet of the Week, where defending indoor men’s champ No. 1 UW-La Crosse and defending indoor women’s champ No. 4 UW-Oshkosh will be represented against several other top-25 squads.
Previews for each of the National Meets of the Week can be found below, as can other meets to watch out for in each NCAA Division and where national top-10 teams will be competing this weekend.
But first, how about some football? The Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks is next weekend, and to celebrate the occasion we’ve released our first list in 2014 of how collegiate football players who also run track & field stack up against one another and the country at large. Check it out here.
National Broadcast Schedule
Friday, January 24, 2014
|2:00 PM ET||Terrier Invitational
|WEB: Flotrack Pro||LIVE
|3:30 PM ET||Rod McCravy Memorial
|4:55 PM ET||McGill Team Challenge
Saturday, January 25, 2014
|8:40 AM ET||McGill Team Challenge
|9:30 AM ET||Terrier Invitational
|WEB: Flotrack Pro||LIVE
|10:00 AM ET||Rod McCravy Memorial
|12:45 PM ET /
11:45 AM CT
|LSU/Texas Tech at Texas A&M
(College Station, Texas)
|1:00 PM ET||New Balance Games
(New York, N.Y.)
Division I Meet of the Week
Kentucky Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational
More than just a track meet, the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational at Kentucky is a remembrance of a young track & field student-athlete – Rodriq McCravy – who died at the age of 19 in 1987 while sleeping in his dorm room. UKAthletics.com described him as such:
"His personal impact on his teammates, friends, and coaches went well beyond athletics. A social work major, Rod is remembered as a dedicated, enthusiastic athlete, a conscientious student, a cherished friend and most important: an outstanding human being."
This particular memorial meet comes on the heels of the tragic passing of another young student-athlete just a week ago, first-year runner Maddie Holleran of Penn, and of several others in the preceding months, and subsequently as an opportunity to reflect on and remember the positive impacts of their lives as Kentucky does with McCravy. The USTFCCCA extends its sincerest sympathies to all those friends, families and teammates of student-athletes who have recently passed away too soon.
There may be no more fitting way to honor a track & field athlete than with a meet that brings out some of the best competition the nation has to offer, which is exactly what this year’s Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational provides in 2014.
Headlining the women’s competition are three of the top six teams in the nation in No. 3 Florida, four-time defending indoor champion No. 4 Oregon and the host No. 6 Kentucky.
Atop the men’s competition is No. 2 Florida – winner of the NCAA indoor title from 2010-2012 before finishing runner-up in 2013 – and No. 3 Oregon, along with No. 12 Illinois, No. 18 Baylor and No. 24 Alabama.
With so many top-tier events, the Warm-Up Lap will focus on two per gender that stand out above all the others: the women’s 60 meters and 60-meter hurdles, and the men’s 60 meters and 400 meters.
The women’s 60-meter hurdles is stacked with some of the nation’s top collegiate hurdling talent dating back to 2012. Kentucky’s own collegiate-leading Kendra Harrison is the hometown favorite, but she will be up against the tenth-fastest collegian of all time – and former Clemson teammate – Bridgette Owens of Florida (No. 4 in 2014), who finished third at the 2012 NCAA Championships in this event; and last year’s national runner-up in the event in Baylor’s Tiffani McReynolds, who is making her 2014 debut.
Both Harrison and Owens are former teammates of 2013 women’s The Bowerman winner Brianna Rollins of Clemson.
Speaking of debuts, Oregon’s Sasha Wallace made her collegiate debut in the hurdles last week to great success, currently sitting at No. 6 on the descending order list and she will look to upset the aforementioned veterans.
The men’s 60-meter hurdles sets up very similarly, as defending 60-meter hurdles national champion and third-fastest collegian of all time Eddie Lovett of Florida is the headliner going up against the nation’s current top-ranked hurdler in Demoye Bogle from Ohio State. Joining that duo will be two more of the nation’s top five hurdlers in 2014 with Ohio State’s Donavan Robertson (No. 3) and Oregon’s Johnathan Cabral (No. 5).
As top-heavy as those match-ups might be, the best of them all might be the women’s 60 meters, which will pit 2014 top three collegians against one another. Dezerea Bryant of Kentucky is the collegiate leader and a member of The Bowerman Preseason Watch List (also receiving votes), but she will get all she can handle from Oregon frosh Jasmine Todd (No.2) and Jenna Prandini (No.3), also of Oregon.
Last but not least is a men’s 400 race that will feature one of this weekend’s two head-to-head match-ups between members of The Bowerman Watch List as Arman Hall of Florida and Mike Berry of Oregon (also receiving votes) square off. By no means will they be alone as Hall’s teammates Hugh Graham, Jr., and Najee Glass are national contenders in the event, as is Baylor’s Blake Heriot.
Kamaria Brown of Texas A&M and Cierra White of Texas Tech (also receiving votes) is the other match-up, taking place at the Texas A&M Triangular (see below).
Other Division I Meets to Watch
Men’s Teams: #7 Florida State; #13 Georgia; #15 Texas; #17 Arizona; #20 Stanford; #22 UTEP; #2 Adams State (DII); #14 West Texas A&M (DII)
Women’s Teams: #1 Texas; #5 Georgia; #9 Stanford; #11 South Carolina; #19 Florida State; #3 Adams State (DII)
Men’s Teams: #5 Texas A&M; #25 LSU
Women’s Teams: #2 Texas A&M; #8 LSU
Women’s Teams: #12 Providence; #14 Dartmouth; #24 Harvard
TOP 10 DI MEN’S TEAMS IN ACTION
|2. Florida||Rod McCravy Memorial|
|3. Oregon||Rod McCravy Memorial|
|4. Wisconsin||Wisconsin Elite Invitational|
|5. Texas A&M||Texas A&M Triangular|
|7. Florida State||Cherry & Silver Invitational|
|8. Nebraska||Mark Colligan Memorial|
|8. Nebraska||Prairie Wolf Indoor Invitational|
|9. Minnesota||Jack Johnson Classic|
TOP 10 DI WOMEN’S TEAMS IN ACTION
|1. Texas||Cherry & Silver Invitational|
|2. Texas A&M||Texas A&M Triangular|
|3. Florida||Rod McCravy Memorial|
|4. Oregon||Rod McCravy Memorial|
|5. Georgia||Cherry & Silver Invitational|
|5. Georgia||Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational|
|6. Kentucky||Rod McCravy Memorial|
|8. LSU||Texas A&M Triangular|
|9. Stanford||Cherry & Silver Invitational|
|10. Kansas||Jayhawk Classic|
Division II Meet of the Week
Central Missouri Invitational
As the top meet this weekend hosted by a Division II program between Division II teams, the Central Missouri Invitational will be a good ol’ fashioned showdown between two Midwestern States with a long-lasting rivalry: Missouri and Kansas.
Representing Missouri are host Central Missouri (No. 6 women/No. 17 men), Missouri S&T (No. 36 men) and Lindenwood; while Kansas will be repped by Pittsburg State (No. 15 men) and Emporia State (No. 40 men).
With four teams ranked in the top 40 by the USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings, the men’s contest – particularly between No. 15 Pittsburg State and No. 17 Central Missouri – will be the highlight of the meet.
Based on the preseason individual event rankings, the men’s pole vault will see No. 2 Jeff Piepenbrink of Pittsburg State up against No. 7 Ryan McGuire of Missouri S&T and No. 6 heptathlete Payson Maydew of Emporia State.
A similarly strong duel can be found on the high jump start list, where No. 6 Devin Claypool of Central Missouri will square off with No. 14 Jordan Manning of Emporia State.
The women’s pole vault will likewise be the most nationally significant event in their competition. The field includes No. 1 Taylor Cipicchio of Missouri S&T, Rachel Ederle of Missouri S&T and Maggie Wilson of Emporia State tied at No. 15 and No. 17 Alaina Fairbanks of Emporia State.
Fifth-ranked Madison Smith will contest the high jump.
More Division II Meets to Keep an Eye On
Grand Valley State vs. Saginaw Valley State Dual
Friday | Full Schedule
Men’s Teams: # 4 Grand Valley State
Women’s Teams: # 3 Grand Valley State; #20 Saginaw Valley State
Men’s Teams: #11 Missouri Southern; #18 Southwest Baptist; #19 Lincoln (Mo.)
Women’s Teams: #1 Lincoln (Mo.); #21 Missouri Southern
St. Thomas (Minn.) Invitational
Friday | Full Schedule
Women’s Teams: #19 Minnesota Duluth; #25 Winona State
TOP 10 DII MEN’S TEAMS IN ACTION
|1. Saint Augustine’s||JDL Fast Track Collegiate Invitational|
|2. Adams State||Cherry & Silver Invitational|
|3. Ashland||Findlay Classic|
|4. Grand Valley State||DUAL: Grand Valley State-Saginaw Valley State (indoor)|
|6. Findlay||Findlay Classic|
|7. Minnesota State||Jack Johnson Classic|
|8. Southern Connecticut||Terrier Invitational|
|9. Colorado Mines||Air Force Invitational|
|10. Academy of Art||Jacksons Invitational/New Balance West|
TOP 10 DII WOMEN’S TEAMS IN ACTION
|1. Lincoln (Mo.)||Jayhawk Classic|
|2. Grand Valley State||DUAL: Grand Valley State-Saginaw Valley State (indoor)|
|3. Adams State||Cherry & Silver Invitational|
|4. Ashland||Findlay Classic|
|6. Central Missouri||Central Missouri Invitational|
|9. Western State||Air Force Invitational|
|10. Academy of Art||Jacksons Invitational/New Balance West|
Division III Meet of the Week
North Central (Ill.) Cardinal Opener
Both the defending indoor men’s and women’s champions from 2013 in No. 1 UW-La Crosse and No. 4 UW-Oshkosh, respectively, will be on hand as North Central (Ill.) hosts its first meet of the year on the very same track the two Wisconsin schools claimed their national titles almost a year ago.
UW-La Crosse’s men, represented largely by its field event contingent, will square off against in-state rival No. 5 UW-Oshkosh, host No. 7 North Central and No. 19 Carthage.
Last year’s meet came down to the wire as UW-Oshkosh claimed a narrow win with 147 points over UW-La Crosse’s 142 and North Central’s 137. UWL would have the final word with its NCAA title later that season.
The UW-Oshkosh women will get the first test of their 2014 title defense campaign against No. 3 UW-La Crosse and No. 12 North Central.
As with the men, UW-Oshkosh didn’t win this meet before going on to the national crown. Instead, it was UW-La Crosse that took the meet with 185 points to UWO’s 135.
Four of the top six men’s pole vaulters in the USTFCCCA preseason individual event rankings will be in action in No. 1 Bryan Klister, No. 2 Rob Rohe and No. 4 Jeffrey Hill of UW-La Crosse and No. 6 John Dickmann of UW-Oshkosh.
Defending men’s indoor high jump national champion Trevor James of Carthage will go head-to-head with No. 3 John McCann of UW-Oshkosh.
Melanie Brickner is No. 1 in the women’s weight throw, and she will have to contend with No. 7 Becca McMullin of Carthage and No. 12 Abby martin of UW-Oshkosh. The men’s weight throw will be equally strong with No. 2 Grant Havard of UWL leading a field that includes teammate No. 4 John Cooper, No. 6 Derrik Guyette of Carthage and No. 11 Joe Brunner of UWO.
Most of the throwers will pull double duty to make for strong shot put competitions. For the women, No. 3 Martin and No. 6 Brickner of Oshkosh will throw against No. 5 Ebony Stallworth of North Central; while the men is headlined by No. 2 Nick Grosskopf of UW-Oshkosh against teammate No. 7 Jeremy Brandt and No. 8 Guyette.
The women’s horizontal jumps are also strong with Bailey Alston of UWL headlining the long jump at No. 3 against teammate No. 8 Lizzie Mattson and No. 12 Kristen LeClair of Carthage, and the triple jump at No. 7 against No. 13 Amanda Shober of Oshkosh.
Though many of the best match-ups will take place in the field, the track will also host a couple of strong showdowns. UWL’s Alex Koenen is No. 5 at 60 meters and North Central’s Diote Hackler is No. 5 at 400, but they’ll meet in the middle and race at 200 meters.
Runner-up nationally at each of his past three NCAA Championships (XC, OTF and ITF) in the past year, North Central’s John Crain will debut in both the mile and at 5000 meters.
For the women, No. 5 Kylee Verhasselt of UWO and No. 9 Krista Cota of North Central may not be squaring off at their 800 meters distance, they could go head-to-head in the meet finale 4×400 relay.
More Division III Meets to Watch Out For
Nebraska Wesleyan Prairie Wolf Indoor Invitational
Friday | Full Schedule
Men’s Teams: #1 UW-La Crosse (track); #3 UW-Eau Claire; #13 Wartburg
Women’s Teams: #1 Wartburg; #3 UW-La Crosse (track)
Men’s Teams: #6 MIT; #9 Bates; #20 Southern Maine
Women’s Teams: #2 MIT; #10 Wheaton (Mass.); #23 Rhode Island College
Men’s Teams: #24 Greenville
Women’s Teams: #9 Washington (Mo.); #19 Illinois Wesleyan
Saturday | Full Schedule
Men’s Teams: #14 Widener; #18 Haverford
Women’s Teams: #6 Johns Hopkins
TOP 10 DIII MEN’S TEAMS IN ACTION
|1. UW-La Crosse||Cardinal Opener|
|1. UW-La Crosse||Prairie Wolf Indoor Invitational|
|2. Mount Union||SPIRE North Coast Open|
|3. UW-Eau Claire||Prairie Wolf Indoor Invitational|
|4. UW-Whitewater||NAIA v DIII Challenge|
|5. UW-Oshkosh||Cardinal Opener|
|6. MIT||Art Farnham Invitational|
|6. MIT||Terrier Invitational|
|7. North Central (Ill.)||Cardinal Opener|
|8. SUNY Cortland||Upstate Challenge (Indoor)|
|9. Bates||Terrier Invitational|
TOP 10 DIII WOMEN’S TEAMS IN ACTION
|1. Wartburg||Prairie Wolf Indoor Invitational|
|1. Wartburg||Wartburg Open|
|2. MIT||Art Farnham Invitational|
|2. MIT||Terrier Invitational|
|3. UW-La Crosse||Cardinal Opener|
|3. UW-La Crosse||Prairie Wolf Indoor Invitational|
|4. UW-Oshkosh||Cardinal Opener|
|5. Williams||Joe Donahue Boston Collegiate Indoor Games|
|6. Johns Hopkins||Haverford Invitational|
|7. St. Thomas (Minn.)||St. Thomas (Minn.) Invitational|
|8. UW-Whitewater||NAIA v DIII Challenge|
|9. Washington (Mo.)||I-55 Triangular|
|10. Wheaton (Mass.)||Joe Donahue Boston Collegiate Indoor Games|
|10. Wheaton (Mass.)||Terrier Invitational|