Feb. 26, 2014
RUSTON, La. - The Louisiana Tech track and field programs return to the Birmingham CrossPlex for the third time this season but this time with hardware on the line as the 2014 Conference USA Indoor Track & Field Championships begin Friday.
The two-day meet will mark the first C-USA Championship meet for Louisiana Tech but entering a new league is simply old hat for head coach Gary Stanley. Currently in his 26th year as head coach, Stanley is guiding LA Tech's program into its fifth new league.
Possibly the most striking thing about joining Conference USA is the depth of the league when it comes to track and field. C-USA fields 15 women's teams and 11 men's teams.
In a pre-meet scoring of the league based on entry marks, the women's race is expected to be extremely tight with the top four teams separated by six points and the top six teams separated by 20 points.
While the Lady Techsters do not have any projected gold medalists, Kim Francis is looking to keep her streak alive in the 60m hurdles. A senior, Francis has won gold the last three years in the hurdles when LA Tech was a member of the Western Athletic Conference. She will have to overcome a 0.18 (18-hundredths) of a second advantage UTEP's Janice Jackson has on her entering the meet.
Overall the women have no projected gold medalists but four projected silver medalists including Francis, Pamela Lee (high jump), Charla Craddock (long jump) and the 4x400m relay. Tech's women are currently projected to finish fifth out of the 15-team field.
While UTEP (130 points) is expected to win the men's title, the center of the league is closely clustered together with six teams separated by 16 points. That includes the Bulldogs - who are projected to finish seventh out of the 11-team field - with a two-point edge over North Texas and trailing Tulsa by six points.
Senior Trey Hadnot is the Bulldogs' lone projected gold medalist, entering the 200m competition with over a 0.2 (two-tenths of a second) advantage over Charlotte's Anthony Bynum.
Outside of the heptathlon and pentathlon multi-event competitions, action at the C-USA Championships begins at Noon on Friday, Feb. 28 with the 20-lb. weight throw while running events start at 5 p.m. with the women's 5,000m. Saturday's action starts at Noon with the men's 35-lb. weight throw and running events start at 2 p.m. with the women's mile. Action will conclude with the 4x400m relay - women's relay first, followed by the men - at 5:15 p.m. Saturday evening.
For complete coverage of Tech Track and Field and Cross Country, please follow @LATechTandF on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
Projected Conference USA Finishes
Projections made based on championship meet entry marks
|Projected Women's Finish|
|Projected Men's Finish|