Conference USA Track & Field Championships Preview

May 12, 2010


ORLANDO -- Conference USA hostS its 13th Annual Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Orlando, Fla. The four-day event is slated for Thursday-Sunday, May 13-16, at the UCF Track and Soccer Complex. This will mark the first time the Knights will play host to the outdoor event.

Action gets underway Thursday, May 13, at 2 p.m. EDT with the women's heptathlon and men's decathlon. Those two events will conclude Friday, when champions will also be crowned in the men's and women's hammer throws and 10,000-meter runs.

A full slate of track and field events will be on the docket for both Saturday and Sunday. Field events will begin each day at 1 p.m., while track events commence at 6 p.m.

All session championships tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for youth, while single session tickets are $12 and $7. C-USA students and staff with a valid I.D. are admitted free. Tickets are available on and Ticketmaster.

A total of 10 males and 11 females will look to defend their 2009 outdoor crowns, including Olympic Bronze medalist and seven-time All-American, Blessing Okagbare of UTEP, who will defend her titles in the 100-meter dash and long jump. She also won the triple jump a year ago. Okagbare and the Miners enter the Championships with a USTFCCCA No. 13 national ranking.

In 2009, Houston claimed the title of the men's championship, finishing nearly 50 points ahead of second-place UTEP. On the women's side, UCF gave Rice a strong challenge and finished second, but the Knights could not prevent the Owls from winning their fourth-straight outdoor crown, a feat no other league program has accomplished. Rice (2007-09) and Houston (2004-06) have both won three-straight conference championships. However, the Cougars own a league-record six outdoor crowns.

The Owls have traditionally been extremely strong in mid- and long-distance events. Look for Britany Williams, Allison Pye, Heather Olson, Halsey Fowler and Marie Thompson to lead this group.



Grecia Bolton of Houston won the 200m in 2009 and will be joined by defending 400m champ Jennifer Mace of Tulsa. Mace owns the second-best 400m time in the league at 54.45, just behind UTEP's Endurance Abinuwa 53.24.

UCF's Jackie Coward will get a chance to preserve her title in the 400m hurdles on her home turf. Coward owns the league's top mark as the only competitor to break the minute mark this season with a time of 59.11.

SMU's Silje Fjortoft will look to earn her third-straight title in the 5,000m, no C-USA runner has won four championships in this event. Fjortoft won the 3,000m steeplechase in 2008 and enters the weekend with the league's best time of 10:30.62.

Anna Wessman of UTEP won the women's javelin last year and stands second-best in the NCAA with a mark of 56.20m (184-04).

In field events, SMU's Simone du Toit, 2009 C-USA Freshman of the Year, won both the shot put and discus throws a year ago and will look to use her No. 13 and No. 9 rankings, respectively, to earn her back-to-back honors. Rice's Ari Ince will defend her title in the pole vault. She cleared 3.65m (11-11.75) in 2009 and currently owns a C-USA best clearance of 3.95m (12-11.5). The Owls have dominated this event winning the last four titles.

The 2009 hammer throw champions in UTEP's Dimitrios Fylladitakis and Maegan Lewis of East Carolina will both return in an attempt to capture back-to-back titles in the event this year. Fylladitakis ranks fifth in the NCAA with a toss of 68.82m (225-09), while Lewis is 26th in the women's standings, owning a mark of 58.77m (192-10).

Rice's Philip Adam returns to defend his title in the men's decathlon where athletes will compete in the 100m, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m, 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500m run. Adam enters the weekend ranked No. 14 in the NCAA with 7,396 points.

The women's heptathlon includes athletes performing in the 100m hurdles, 200m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, javelin and 800m. UAB's Nora Mehl won the title in 2009, while Marine Menez of UTEP leads C-USA with 4,990 points this season.

The 10,000m champion John Beattie of Tulsa also returns to the track as he owns the nation's third-best time of 28:32.21 in the event. However, he will be competing in the 5,000m Sunday night.

Houston's Jason Perez won the 400m hurdles in 2009 and enters the weekend ranked atop the C-USA charts and 18th in the NCAA with a time of 50.83. Fellow teammates Bryan Brown and Chris Carter also look to defend their titles in the pole vault and triple jump, respectively.

Rice will look to senior Jason Colwick for additional points from the pole vault as the 2009 NCAA Indoor Champion leads the nation with a vault of 5.71m (18-8.75).

The UTEP pair of Nicodemus Ng'etich and Anderson Mutegi also return to the track to defend their titles. Ng'etich won both the 5,000m run and 3,000m steeplechase last season, while Mutegi sprinted his way to the crown in the 400m. Ng'etich is currently the only C-USA runner to clock a time under the nine-minute mark in the 3,000m steeplechase. He sports a C-USA best 8:46.68.

Rounding out the defenders on the men's side is Justin Duncan of Tulsa who won the 1,500m a year ago and leads C-USA in the event this season in 3:44.44.

Times Listed are Eastern

THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2010
2:00 p.m. - Women's Heptathlon
2:30 p.m. - Men's Decathlon

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2010
Field Events
10:00 a.m. - Hammer - Men
11:30 a.m. - Hammer - Women

Multi-Events - Continues
1:30 p.m. - Men's Decathlon
2:00 p.m. - Women's Heptathlon

Track Events - Finals
7:50 p.m. - 10,000m - Men
8:30 p.m. - 10,000m - Women

SATURDAY, MAY 15, 2010
Field Events - Finals
1:00 p.m. - Javelin - Men
3:30 p.m. - Discus - Women
3:30 p.m. - Long Jump - Men
5:30 p.m. - Long Jump - Women
6:00 p.m. - Pole Vault - Women
6:00 p.m. - High Jump - Men
6:30 p.m. - Shot Put - Men

Track Events - Prelims
6:00 p.m. - 1500m - Men
6:15 p.m. - 1500m - Women
6:30 p.m. - 110m Hurdles - Men
6:45 p.m. - 100m Hurdles - Women
7:00 p.m. - 400m - Men
7:15 p.m. - 400m - Women
7:25 p.m. - 100m - Men
7:40 p.m. - 100m - Women
7:55 p.m. - 800m - Men
8:05 p.m. - 800m - Women
8:20 p.m. - 400m Hurdles - Men
8:35 p.m. - 400m Hurdles - Women
8:50 p.m. - 200m - Men
9:00 p.m. - 200m - Women
9:15 p.m. - 3,000m Steeplechase - Men FINALS
9:35 p.m. - 3,000m Steeple - Women FINALS

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Field Events
1:00 pm Javelin (Final - Women)
3:00 pm Triple Jump (Final - Women)
3:30 pm Discus (Final - Men)
6:00 pm High Jump (Final - Women)
6:00 pm Pole Vault (Final - Men)
6:30 pm Triple Jump (Final - Men)
6:30 pm Shot Put (Final - Women)

Track Events
6:00 pm 4x100m Relay (Final - Men)
6:05 pm 4x100m Relay (Final -Women)
6:15 pm 1500m (Final - Men)
6:25 pm 1500m (Final - Women)
6:35 pm 110 Hurdles (Final - Men)
6:45 pm 100 Hurdles (Final - Women)
6:55 pm 400m (Final - Men)
7:00 pm 400m (Final - Women)
7:10 pm 100m (Final - Men)
7:15 pm 100m (Final - Women)
7:25 pm 800m (Final - Men)
7:30 pm 800m (Final - Women)
7:40 pm 400m Hurdles (Final - Men)
7:50 pm 400m Hurdles (Final - Women)
8:00 pm 200m (Final - Men)
8:05 pm 200m (Final - Women)
8:15 pm 5,000m (Final - Men)
8:40 pm 5,000m (Final - Women)
9:10 pm 4x400m Relay (Final - Men)
9:15 pm 4x400m Relay (Final - Women)
9:30 pm Presentation of Awards



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