Tech Women Take No. 33 National Ranking to WAC Indoor Championships
Feb. 21, 2012
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech's women's track and field team dropped three spots to No. 33 in the national rankings but still stayed ahead of several BCS powers as the latest national and regional rankings were released Tuesday. The Lady Techsters will put that ranking and a streak of six WAC Indoor titles in seven tries on the line as Tech heads to the WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships this week in Boise, Idaho.
Despite being the highest ranked team in the Western Athletic Conference in the national rankings, the Lady Techsters face a daunting task in the WAC Championships as Tech is currently projected to finish fifth according to the league's descending order list. Louisiana Tech has won six of the last seven indoor titles and 13 of the last 14 WAC titles overall.
Chelsea Hayes, nationally ranked in the top 25 in three different events, leads Tech in the final team meet of the 2012 indoor season. Hayes, who has qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the long jump, has the nation's best mark in the event as she set a new Louisiana Tech and WAC record with a mark of 21-8 (6.60m). She also holds a school and WAC record in the 60m dash with a time of 7.32 and holds a No. 11 national ranking in that event. Hayes is also ranked 25th in the nation in the 200m with a time of 24.26; she is projected to win WAC titles in all three events at this weekend's conference meet.
The Lady Techsters still hold an advantage over BCS powers Oklahoma, Penn State and Kansas State in the national rankings but were eclipsed by Georgia, Cincinnati and Baylor in this week's poll. The fall, however, was in no fault to Tech as the program did not compete over last week in advance of the upcoming WAC Championships.
Idaho, which has never won a WAC title in track and field, is projected to score 120 points and eclipse Utah State's 115 points in this year's league meet. New Mexico State is projected to finish third with 102.5 points while Nevada is expected to score 96.5 points and finish fourth.
The projections are just projections, however, and many things can change during the three-day meet. Louisiana Tech was projected to finish second on the women's side last year and overcame a controversial disqualification in the distance medley relay to beat Utah State by one point for the program's sixth indoor WAC title.
On the men's side, Trey Hadnot holds on to his national ranking in the 200m dash with an unconverted time of 21.44, placing him 11th in the nation and fifth in the region.
The Bulldogs are projected to finish third in the WAC Championships and have the opportunity to score over 100 points in a conference meet for the fourth straight year, a streak that would be a first for the program. Utah State is projected to win the WAC men's indoor title for the fourth time in five years. Current projections have the Aggies scoring 201 points and USU could become only the second team in WAC history to surpass the 200-point plateau in the WAC Indoor Championships, something only UTEP (203 points in 2002) has ever done.
This will mark the first time since Louisiana Tech joined the league that Tech will not be competing against Boise State as the Broncos have moved to the Mountain West conference for this year. The loss of the Broncos hurts the Lady Techsters overall as Boise, who is hosting the WAC meet despite no longer being in the league, did not compete with LA Tech in Tech's strong events and broke up points of other challengers in distance and throwing events, specifically Idaho and Utah State.
Tech has a much younger team in 2012 than the 2011 team fielded and last year's squad lost 11 seniors on the women's side. The Lady Techsters will look to younger athletes in the 2012 conference meet to carry the team on to victory.
Live stats/event results will be available at LATechSports.com while the final day of the 2012 WAC Indoor Championships will be video streamed live on WAC.tv.
For complete coverage of Tech Track and Field, please follow @LATechPWalsh on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
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