Providence, R.I. – This week’s BIG EAST track and field notebook includes season-opening meets for 12 schools. Many athletes took the opportunity on the opening weekend to qualify for the BIG EAST Championships, including 42 athletes qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Four BIG EAST squads will be in action this weekend. The BIG EAST’s complete top performances list can be accessed at www.directathletics.com.
Where they will be this week…
Kent State Gala (Kent, Ohio): Pittsburgh
Haverford Holiday Meet (Haverford, Pa.): Villanova
Idle: Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse.
Kent State Gala (Kent, Ohio): Pittsburgh
EIU Early Bird (Charleston, Ill.): Cincinnati
Bill Ward Invitational (South Huntington, N.Y.): St. John’s
Haverford Holiday Meet (Haverford, Pa.): Villanova
Idle: Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse, West Virginia.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats had an intrasquad meet on Dec. 3. The team officially opens its season on Dec. 10 at the EIU Early Bird Invitational in Charleston, Ill.
Connecticut: The Huskies’ women’s team does not open the season until Jan. 15 at the Armory Invitational in New York. Connecticut will be poised for another run at the BIG EAST Indoor Track and Field Championship title after placing third in 2010 and first in 2008 and 2009. UConn returns two indoor NCAA qualifiers in sophomore Victoria Flowers and senior Trisha-Ann Hawthorn. Flowers earned All-America status for the second-straight year after placing second in the weight throw at the NCAA Championships last season. Hawthorne, the most decorated track athlete in Connecticut history, placed 12th in the 60-meter dash and 16th in the 200-meter dash at the NCAA Championships. She has won back-to-back BIG EAST individual titles in the 60-meter and 200-meter dash. The Huskies will look for a strong season from redshirt senior Tynisha McMillian in the shot put. McMillian finished third at the BIG EAST Championship in 2010 after winning the title in 2009.
The Connecticut men’s team also does not compete until Jan. 15 when the Huskies will be at the Yale Invitational. Two-time All-America selection Mike Rutt has been named captain for both the 2011 indoor and outdoor seasons. Rutt has led the Huskies in mid-distance events for the past three seasons and has represented UConn at the USA Track and Field National Championship twice during his career. The sprint events will be led by Kevin Steinberg, Jake Waruch and Dan Holst. Connecticut will turn to Kyle Duggan, Aaron King and Mike Alleman to lead the field events. Head coach Greg Roy enters his 22nd season at the helm of the track and field program.
DePaul: DePaul opened its season at the Blue and Gold Invitational hosted by Notre Dame on Dec. 3. On the men’s side, junior Tim Nedow set a school record with a throw of 18.02 meters in the shot put, breaking a record that had stood since 2002. Nedow won the event and qualified for the BIG EAST Championships with the toss. Sophomore Chris Kyles also set a school record in the 60-meter dash, crossing the line in 6.93 seconds.
Two women’s athletes qualified for the BIG EAST Championships in senior Melissa Fraser and sophomore Lindsey Holden. Fraser qualified in the weight throw, registering a toss of 15.98 meters to finish third at the meet. Holden ran a time of 57.14 in the 400-meter dash, finishing second.
Georgetown: The Georgetown men’s team opened the season at the Navy Invitational on Dec. 4. The Hoyas had nine BIG EAST Championship-qualifying times. The day was highlighted by senior and two-time All-American Chris Kinney, who broke the Wesley A. Brown Field House facility record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.84.
The women’s team opened the season at the Bison Opener on Dec. 4, and had three athletes qualify for the BIG EAST Championship. Among those qualifying included junior London Finley, who won the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.72 seconds while also qualifying in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.28.
Louisville: The Cardinals’ men’s and women’s teams opened the season at the Southern Illinois Fast Start Invitational on Dec. 4. The teams combined for seven first-place finishes. Senior D’Ana McCarty highlighted the women’s performances, placing first in the weight throw with a toss of 22.21 meters. The throw made McCarty one of only two weight throwers in the country to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Junior Wesley Smith was the top performer on the men’s side, registering a career-best long jump of 7.82 meters, tops in the NCAA this season.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles competed at the Blue and Gold Invitational at Notre Dame on Dec. 3. Junior pole vaulter Lauren Darnall highlighted the day for Marquette, shattering the school record with a height of 3.88 meters. Darnall’s previous career-high was 3.40 meters. The vault easily qualifies Darnall for the BIG EAST Championships.
On the men’s side, freshman Michael Saindon took second in the high jump, qualifying for the BIG EAST Championships with a height of 2.01 meters. Sophomore Cheldon Brown also qualified for the BIG EAST Championships in the high jump, notching a height of 1.96 meters.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish men’s and women’s teams began their seasons with the Blue and Gold Invitational at the Loftus Sports Center in Notre Dame, Ind. on Dec. 3. Notre Dame compiled 17 victories, including 10 on the women’s side and seven on the men’s against DePaul, Detroit Mercy, Marquette and Bethel College. Among the winners on the men’s side included senior Kevin Labus who won the 800-meter run in 1:52.06. The women’s side had a pair of freshmen earn wins, as McKinzie Schulz won the 1,000-meter run in a time of 2:55.88 and Kelly Curran won the mile in 4:49.85.
Pittsburgh:Pittsburgh’s men’s and women’s teams begin their seasons on Dec. 10 at the Kent State Gala. On the women’s side, the Panthers return seniors Da’Lynn Mills and Brianna Boyles, who will look to lead the team in sprints. Both athletes also will be key for the Pitt relay teams. Junior Cambrya Jones also returns to help out in sprints, relays and distance events. On the men’s side, senior Anyony Hobwana returns to lead the Panthers in sprints and jumps. Junior brothers Jerome and Jermaine Lowery are also back for the 2010-11 season to compete in sprint and distance events.
Providence: The Providence men's and women's teams kicked off their seasons with two meets in as many days. On Dec. 4, members of both Friar squads competed at the Fordham Invitational in the Bronx, N.Y. On Dec. 5, the Black and White took part in the Brown Invitational. On the women's side, sophomore Christina Lavigne earned top honors in the triple jump by leaping 10.64 meters at the Fordham Invitational. Lavigne also placed second in the 200-meter dash (27.5), just ahead of third-place teammate Toni Rauseo.
For the men, highlights included senior Brian Stannard’s winning the 300m (36.20) at the Brown Invitational. Freshman Alex Wallace had two victories over the weekend, taking first in the mile at the Fordham Invitational and in the 1,000-meters (2:32.74) at the Brown Invitational. The 4X400 team of Kevin Amarucci, freshman Chris Booker, freshman Nik Andrews, and Thomas Manglaviti was also victorious at the Brown Invitational.
Rutgers: Rutgers did not compete last weekend. The men’s side opens the season on Dec. 10 at the New Years Invitational in Princeton, N.J. The women’s side opens its season on Jan. 7, 2011 in a tri-meet with Princeton and St. John’s.
St. John’s: Junior thrower Chanel King led the team at the Manhattan College Opener on Dec. 1, winning the weight throw and shot put. King qualified for the BIG EAST and ECAC Championships with a throw of 16.36 meters in the weight. She also tossed a BIG EAST-qualifying distance of 13.30 meters in the shot put.
The Red Storm open the season with a full squad on Dec. 8 at the team’s first-ever indoor meet. The meet will be held at St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, N.Y.
USF: Only the women’s team was in action for the Bulls last weekend, as the squad competed at the Saluki Fast Start Invitational on Dec. 4. Senior Stephanie Duffy took first in the pole vault, while junior Monique Williams captured the title in the long jump. Duffy cleared the 3.98-meter mark, qualifying her for the BIG EAST Championships. USF had a total of six top-five finishes on the day.
Both the men and the women will compete on Jan. 14, 2011 for a dual-meet with Grand Valley State. It will be the opening meet of the year for the men.
Syracuse: The Syracuse men and women opened the season at the Cornell Relays on Dec. 4. On the men’s side, the 4x800-meter relay team of Joseph Bubniak, Andrew Nelson, Erin Schirm and Steve Murdock notched the top time in the BIG EAST this season with a time of 8:01.68.
The women’s team also owns the top time in the 4x800 relay, with Michelle Riley, Roseda Lo, Kelly Anne McCarthy and Abigail Decker notching a time of 9:50.82. The teams will not compete until the New Year, when they take part in the Cornell Open on Jan. 8, 2011.
Villanova: Villanova men’s and women’s teams opened the season by hosting the eighth annual Jack Pyrah Invitational on Dec. 3, a local meet named after the longtime Villanova coach. In their first competition of the year, the women’s team registered six first-place finishes and set two meet records. Sophomore Ariann Neutts won the 1,000 meters in a meet record time of 2:52.34, while junior Shericka Ward established a meet record en route to winning the 55-meter dash in a time of 7.12. Both previous records were also set by Villanova athletes. In addition to those two finishes, senior Audrey Gariepy-Bogui won the 55-meter hurdles and the Wildcats boasted three victories in the field events. Senior Ashlyn Llerandi won the pole vault, sophomore Marie Minasi took first place in the triple jump and freshman Samantha Yeats was first in the long jump.
The men’s side registered four first-place finishes and set two meet records. Villanova finished first in the 4x400 meter relay with a time of 3:20.78 that broke the previous mark by 0.32 seconds. That previous record, also set by a Villanova relay squad, stood since the inaugural Jack Pyrah meet in 2003. The other meet record set by the Wildcats came from senior Matthew Wikler in the 1,000 meters. His time of 2:27.99 beat the previous mark by just over one-tenth of a second.
In addition to the two meet records, the Wildcats registered wins in the 3,000 meters and the 500 meters. Senior Brian Tetreault won the 3,000-meter run by a margin of more than three seconds, while freshman Samuel Ellison made his collegiate debut by taking first place in the 500 meters by nearly half a second. Overall, Villanova finished the meet with nine top-three finishes, including two runners-up and three third-place finishes
This weekend, members of the Villanova team will take part in the Haverford Holiday Classic on Dec. 11.
West Virginia:The Mountaineers opened their season with the WVU Holiday Classic on Dec. 4. Senior Chelsea Carrier posted three BIG EAST qualifying finishes this weekend in the 60-meter hurdles, 200-meter dash and the high jump. Six of eight All-Americans from a year ago return to lead the team this season. West Virginia next competes on Jan. 8 at the Penn State Relays.