Starting Friday the track and field team will travel to Penn State's banked 200 meter track to take on some excellent early season competition. There promises to be some great sprint and distance action.
A new system of qualifying for the NCAA championship meet has been unveiled this year. Rather than posting a "provisional" time and "automatic" qualifying time it is merely a time trail battle. The top "X" ("X" being varied by event) times, distances, heights, etc. will be invited to the championships. This year's championship meet will be hosted by the University of Arkansas March 8th to 9th.
Though it is very early in the season, make no mistake about how serious these early meets are for posting qualifying marks and booking your entry to the NCAA meet. Let's take a look at some of the more intriguing athletes for this weekend.
Jaquan Holland - Kicked off his Junior track season last weekend with a rust busting 300 meter dash at Cornell. After his 3rd place showings in the 100 and 200 meter dash races at last spring's Big East Championships he will be competing in the 60m and 200m invitational races this weekend.
Ryan Urie - After a very successful cross country season Urie is in the highly competitive invitational mile this weekend. His 4:07 mile from last year will almost certainly be topped this season. Look for PSU's Sam Masters to make an early statement.
Martin Hehir - Your reigning individual Big East cross country champion begins his season in the invitational 3000m run. This race is STACKED with Syracuse folk as Hehir will be joined by Forrest Misenti, Robert Molke, Joe Whelan, and red shirt senior Tito Medrano.
Jarret Eaton - Last Year's NCAA champion in the 60m hurdles will be competeting in the same event at this year's meet unattached. Technically, he is now Coach Eaton, but he cn still compete unattached. Though he is no longer a student athlete (more of a postgrad), it should be an exciting race nonetheless!
On the women's side...
Molly Malone & Brianna Nerud - These two are both entered in the 1000m invitational race, Molly doing her standard distance while Brianna is moving down quite a bit. This is a wide open race.
Lauren Penney - Lauren will be returning to the track as a red shirt senior for the rest of the year in the invitational mile. This mile is PACKED! Former multiple time NCAA champion Sheila Reid is entered unattached as is Emily Lipari and a group of talented Georgetown athletes. Many of these women will likely meet again at NCAA. Look for a very fast and competitive race.
Sarah Pagano - The NCAA cross country individual qualifier will run the invitational 3000m race against some familiar Big East and Syracuse faces. Her main competition will be Georgetown's Emily Jones.
This is my first crack at some track and field coverage so any feedback or comments are greatly appreciated! I will do a recap of the meet with video clips and other happenings. Please feel free to view the entry lists and coverage as the meet progresses.