THE WARM-UP LAP: The Weekend’s Best Collegiate T&F Action Outside Kentucky
We spent two articles yesterday previewing Kentucky’s Rod McCravy Memorial – this weekend’s USTFCCCA National Meet of the Week – and justifiably so with 16 nationally ranked teams and national individual contenders competing in each and every event.
But by no means is that the only college track & field action of consequence this weekend.
Below is a breakdown of some of the top action scheduled throughout the rest of the country. We refer to the USTFCCCA lists throughout the post, which is a combination of the best 2014 marks by returners from a year ago, plus the best marks of the young 2015 season.
NEW MEXICO LOBO COLLEGIATE INVIATATIONAL
The last time Texas’ Kaitlin Petrillose competed in the pole vault at New Mexico, she set a collegiate record and became the first collegiate woman to clear 15 feet indoors en route to a national title. In fact, her two best indoor vaults are both from this venue.
The last time Stephen F. Austin’s Demi Payne vaulted – last Saturday at Texas A&M – she broke the collegiate record; a record that had no longer belonged to Petrillose. In fact, Petrillose herself watched on the day before Payne’s record at a Friday dual vs. Arkansas as Sandi Morris of Arkansas surpassed her now-former record by the slightest of margins, just one centimeter.
Now it’s Payne vs. Petrillose at New Mexico. That showdown begins at 11:30amET/9:30amMT. For reference, Morris competes Friday afternoon at Kentucky; just in case Morris re-acquires the collegiate record, Payne (or Petrillose, for that matter) will have the chance to respond.
Notable in the men’s sprints are the Houston duo of Cameron Burrell and Leshon Collins, who are No. 2 and No. 5 on the USTFCCCA lists. Both were national finalists on this track a year ago, finished sixth and ninth.
Returning The Bowerman Semifinalist Anthony Rotich of UTEP, the defending indoor mile national champ, will compete at 3000 meters.
A pair of SEC sprinters headline the field at Vanderbilt. Defending indoor 60-meter and outdoor 100-meter national champion Remona Burchell – a returning Semifinalist for The Bowerman – will make her 2015 debut at 60 meters against No. 11 Stephanie Kalu of SMU.
For the men, Ole Miss’ Jalen Miller is scheduled to continue his exceptional 2015 campaign at 60 meters. He’s run the second-fastest time among collegians this year at 6.56, and is No. 3 on the USTFCCCA lists. He’s also scheduled to go at 200 meters.
The men’s triple jump should be entertaining with three guys ranked in the top 11 on the USTFCCCA lists going at it. No. 4 Jeremiah Green of Alabama, a returning first-team All-American, squares off with No. 10 Jason Harper of Mississippi State and No. 11 Phillip Young of Mississippi.
Jarvis Gotch of Louisiana Tech will look to build on his early collegiate-leading mark of 26-2¾ (7.99m) against Alabama’s Cameron Hudson, ranked No. 12 on the USTFCCCA lists.
In the men’s high jump, a host of potential contenders for the 2015 national title will go head-to-head. No. 8 Kyle Landon of Southern Illinois, No. 17 Justin Fondren of Alabama and No. 25 DJ Smith of Auburn will square off, with all three within five centimeters (2.20m for Landon, 2.18m for Fondren and 2.15m for Smith) of one another based on competition in the past year.
Headlining the throws are a pair of early-season standouts from Southern Illinois in No. 5 frosh shot putter Raven Saunders and No. 7 Sophia Lozano in the weight throw.
TEXAS A&M QUADRANGULAR
Perhaps the biggest news coming out of College Station this weekend relates to the 400 meters.
Though he won’t make his open 400 debut, reigning The Bowerman winner Deon Lendore of Texas A&m will begin his 2015 campaign anchoring the vaunted A&M 4×400 relay. He is one of four seniors in the quartet, joined by Bralon Taplin, Gregory Coleman and Carlyle Roudette.
Kamaria Brown of Texas A&M, however, will compete at 400 meters, an event in which she is ranked No. 1 on the USTFCCCA lists. She will be joined by teammate No. 5 Shamier Little, last year’s third-place national finisher in this event, against No. 15 Brianna Tate of Arizona State and No. 21 Monenae Roye-Speight of Texas Tech.
Sticking with the sprints theme, No. 8 Devin Jenkins and No. 19 Shavez Hart of A&M are up against Arizona State’s Devan Spann, who has a 6.68 at altitude to his name this year. At 200 meters for the women, No. 5 Olivia Ekpone and No. 6 Ashton Purvis of Texas A&M will square off with No. 14 Cierra White of Texas Tech.
Reigning outdoor women’s 1500-meter national champion Shelby Houlihan of Arizona State will debut at 3000 meters, while the dynamic Texas Tech high jumping duo of No. 4 Jacorian Duffield and No. 5 Bradley Adkins will take flight. The two tied for fifth at NCAA indoors a year ago.