The most important meet for most of the Syracuse track and field teams comes this weekend at the Big East Championship meet in Geneva, Ohio. Let's do a quick recap of last weekend action first.
Lauren Penney continues to rewrite the Syracuse record books and show she is one of the best harriers in the country. Earning this weeks Big East track athlete of the week (and Syracuse's Big East Scholar), Penney smashed her own school record of 9:12 in the indoor 3,000m, Penney ran 9:06 at the Husky Classic, placing 5th among collegiate athletes. While her Big East leading 4:37 mile clocking leaves her 15th in the collegiate rankings, her 3k mark puts her safely in 8th. These are incredibly fast times, people. Her 4:37 looks like it will not stand through the final 2 weeks of the qualifying season but her 3k will book her ticket.
The rest of the Orange T&F team traveled to Cornell as BU's Valentine's Invite was snowed out (there was some snow there if you didn't hear). The Cornell track is a flat 200m track that is very challenging to run quick times on. Regardless, the meet was a great tune-up for this coming weekend. Results can be found here.
I will give recaps of each day's Big East action, but let's start with a quick preview, starting with the men:
60m Dash - JHx2, Jaquan Holland and Jihaad Howard, sit at 2nd and 3rd on the Big East leaderboard heading into this event. Both have a great chance to score lots of points and possibly win this event. However, the top 7 times are all seperated by less than one tenth of a second! This race is wide open. Jaquan, will also be competing in the 200m dash.
60m Hurdles - Donald Pollitt and Amadou Gueye look to continue Syracuse's hurdle dominance at the Big East championships. They are ranked 1st and 2nd, respectively, but look to be hotly contested as the top 5 competitors are also seperated by a mere tenth of a second.
3,000m Run/5,000m Run - Super sophmore Martin Heir will look to claim another individual title in the 3km race. His time currently puts him 3rd on the Big East leaderboard, but his 8:10 clocking on a slow Cornell track shows he is peaking at the right time. Martin will race Providence import Shane Quinn, whom he put a furious kick on to defeat in the cross country conference meet. All athletes qualified in the 3k may run the 5k and vice versa. Look for Martin and Tito Medrano to potentially attempt a difficult 3k/5k double, or to compete in Saturday's Distance Medley Relay (DMR) as well.
Now onto the women's side...
60m Dash - Freshman Shaina Harrison is tied for 2nd on the Big East leaderboard and looks to be one of the few underclassmen in this field with a chance to make the final. Her points will be much needed this weekend.
Distance Medley Relay - Lauren Penney will anchor a strong DMR team Saturday night, before her 3,000m run on Sunday. This team has the potential to run very fast on the heels of Penney's Big East leading 4:37 time. Expect Brianna Nerud and Molly Malone to run the 1,200m and 800m legs, respectively.
3,000m Run - Lauren Penney will face a loaded Big East field in the 3k. She will face an army of Georgetown runners, including Freshman Katrina Coogan, who bested Penney at last weekend's Husky Classic. Villanova's Emily Lipari will add to the competitive field, Penney best Lipari in the mile at Penn State back in January. This race will set the stage for the NCAA championships, where many of these girls will meet again.