Feb. 22, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
The University of Louisville track and field team will travel to New York City for the 2008 BIG EAST Indoor Championships on Feb. 23-24 at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory. The Cards enter the weekend with a total of 65 BIG EAST qualifiers (35 men, 30 women) and have 37 athletes (20 men, 17 women) entered to compete.
The two-day meet is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. ET each day with the multi-events.
"We're excited about this weekend's BIG EAST meet in New York City and the challenges we'll face in such a deep field of teams," said Cards' head coach Ron Mann. "There's a lot of depth in both the men's and women's team events. We feel like we're among a group of four teams on each side that could win the team titles, so it'll probably go down to the wire on Sunday afternoon."
The Louisville men enter this weekend's event having won the last two BIG EAST team titles in cross country and outdoor track & field, and the Cards narrowly missed on winning last year's indoor title as Notre Dame's 133.5 points edged U of L's 131. On the women's side, the Cards earned their best ever conference finish in May at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships taking second place and the Cards were sixth at last year's indoor event in Akron, Ohio.
"Our goal when I arrived in Louisville was to build this program into a consistent conference contender and we expect to continue to bridge the gap in attaining that goal this weekend," Mann said. "To do that, we definitely need some athletes who haven't been in this type of setting to step up and earn the types of marks that we believe they can. If that happens, we'll have a strong weekend in New York."
In their final pre-conference weekend of competition, the Cards set two new school records and earned four NCAA provisional qualifying marks at the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 15-16 in Fayetteville, Ark. Juniors Jere' Summers and Seidre Forde led the way for U of L with school record performances last Saturday. Summers set a new school record and finished fourth overall in the shot put with a mark of 53-09.75 breaking Summers' own previous school record throw of 53-03 set in December at the SIU Fast Start.
On Friday at the Tyson Invite, Summers had a throw of 63-08.25, which matches her second best mark ever and the fifth-best throw in school history to finish second overall in the field of 34 in the weight throw. Summers is an NCAA provisional qualifier in both the shot put and the weight throw this season and is the U of L school record holder in both events.
In Saturday's triple jump, Forde earned a fifth-place finish with a school record leap of 43-04.25, improving on her previous school record leap of 42-11.75 set at SIU in December. She is the U of L record holder in both the triple jump and the long jump.
Following this weekend's BIG EAST Championships, the Cards will have a weekend off from competition before competing at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational on March 7-8 in South Bend, Ind. The meet will be the Cards' last chance to earn the necessary marks required to advance to the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark. Entering this weekend, the Cards have three athletes - Rudon Bastian in the men's long jump; Jere' Summers in the women's weight throw and shot put; and Seidre Forde in the women's triple jump - in position to advance to the NCAA meet.