WEEKEND PREVIEW: February 7-9, 2020
Believe it or not: There will be two collegiate indoor track & field championship meets happening exactly one month from now. If you don’t believe us, CLICK HERE.
Can someone tell the year to slow down?
From The USTFCCCA InfoZone: Meets & Results
Those two championship meets are the NAIA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Brookings, South Dakota and the NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Lynchburg, Virginia. Both of those meets end on Saturday, March 7.
With that known, it’s high time for athletes and teams to start rounding into championship form as they want to hit qualifying marks for the upcoming postseason.
It’s a good thing that several meets this weekend afford that opportunity for athletes across each collegiate division to see where they stack up against the best in the nation.
Hillsdale Wide Track Classic (Hillsdale)
The biggest gathering spot this weekend for programs in the Upper Midwest just might be the Hillsdale Wide Track Classic, hosted by NCAA Division II Hillsdale College.
More than 20 universities and colleges from NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and the NAIA are scheduled to converge on the Biermann Athletic Center on Friday and Saturday.
What makes the Biermann Athletic Center different is that it features the “World’s Widest 200-Meter Track,” hence the name the Wide Track Classic. Each of the lanes on the track – nine on the straightaway, six on the oval – is 48 inches across.
Last year alone, 28 automatic or provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships were turned in at this meet. That included the division’s third-fastest time over 60 meters turned in by a male athlete (Mason Phillips of Northwood (Mich.)).
Camel City Invitational (JDL Fast Track)
Each year the Camel City Invitational attracts more and more talent to the JDL Fast Track facility in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which will play host to the upcoming NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships.
This weekend, however, collegians from across each division will compete both on the 200-meter oval and in the various throwing areas the facility has to offer.
We have our eyes trained on the elite sections of the 3000, specifically. That’s where you’ll find 10 collegians entered in the women’s race and six collegians entered in the men’s race.
The women’s race features marquee names from Southeast-centric programs like Florida (Jessica Pascoe), Furman (Savannah Carahan and Emma Grace Hurley) and NC State (Kelsey Chimel and Dominique Clairmonte). Don’t forget about one of the best distance runners in the NAIA, either: Emily Kearney of SCAD Atlanta (Ga.).
The men’s race has cross-divisional matchups as well, pitting the likes of Peter Seufer of NCAA Division I Virginia Tech against NCAA Division II standouts Joshua Chepkesir of UNC Pembroke and Christian Noble of Lee (Tenn.) with Aidan Ryan of Williams, one of NCAA Division III’s fastest men of all-time at the distance in the mix, too.
Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational (Nebraska)
Our eyes are on the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational for the simple reason that you’re going to see a bunch of qualifying marks for the upcoming NJCAA Championships established there.
Last year there were 29 automatic qualifying marks registered in Lincoln, Nebraska, as those top NJCAA athletes from many of programs in the Midwest get a chance to mix it up with a number of NCAA Division I and NCAA Division II athletes.
Among some of the most notable times clocked at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational last year was Kenny Bednarek’s blistering run of 20.30 in the 200 and the Iowa Central duo of Lilian Busienei and Florance Uwajeneza clocking two of the season’s top-3 fastest marks over 3000 meters.
That 20.30 by Bednarek was the second-fastest among all collegians last year, sitting behind only The Bowerman finalist Divine Oduduru’s 20.08 at the Big 12 Championships. You might remember that later in the outdoor season, Bednarek set an all-conditions world best in the same event at the NJCAA Outdoor Championships with his very wind-aided 19.49.