Previewing the 2010 WAC Women's Track and Field Championships

May 10, 2010

RUSTON, La. - The largest championship event in the Western Athletic Conference heads to Ruston this week as Louisiana Tech hosts the WAC Track and Field Championships on May 12-15 at the Jim Mize Track Facility. In anticipation of that, LATechSports.com offers this preview of the women's championships.

The Wednesday and Thursday schedule will include the decathlon for men and the heptathlon for women, with each day's action starting at 1 p.m. On Friday at 12:30 p.m. the women's pole vault and men's hammer throw will be the first field events and running competition will get underway at 3 p.m. with the steeplechase.

Saturday's events will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the men's pole vault and the women's hammer throw while the running events will open at 5 p.m. with the men's 4x100m relay.

Tickets are available for sale at the Louisiana Tech Ticket Office with an all-session pass available for $25. For complete ticket information, please contact the Louisiana Tech Ticket Office by calling 318-257-3631 or by e-mailing tickets@latech.edu.

Louisiana Tech Athletics would like to thank the following businesses for their contributions to this meet: Blue Bell, City of Ruston, Coke, Dawg House Sports Grill, Ponchatoula's, Ruston-Lincoln Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ryan's Steakhouse, Super 1 Foods, and WOW Café & Wingery.

For complete coverage of Louisiana Tech Track and Field, please visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.

Predicted Order of Finish (based upon current season-best marks)
1. Louisiana Tech 196
2. Idaho 132
3. Utah State 109
4. Hawaii 87
5. Boise State 84
6. Fresno State 72
7. Nevada 68
8. N.M. State 62

Boise State Broncos
Strengths:
Jumps, Pole Vault, Sprints
What to Watch: Eleni Kafourou is ranked eighth in the nation in the long jump (20-11.75) and 10th in the nation in the triple jump (43-2.5). Sasa Kampic is ranked 38th in the nation in the javelin (155-3).
About the Broncos: On paper, Boise State looks like a middle of the pack team that shouldn't be feared too much. In reality, the Broncos are that pesky team that can quickly sneak up behind you and race past when you aren't paying attention, as the tortoise did to the hare. Boise should be especially strong in the jumps and Eleni Kafourou, ranked in the top 10 in the nation in the long and triple jumps, has the chance to take home both titles.


 

 

Fresno State Bulldogs
Strengths:
Sprints, Relays
What to Watch: Rosario Sanchez is ranked 39th in the nation in the shot put (50-8.75). Roxanne Sellick is ranked first in the WAC in the 1,500m (4:29.79).
About the Bulldogs: Fresno State's biggest chance to make an impact at this year's meet will come in the relays and a strong showing there could really hurt other teams chances at making a run at LA Tech. Fresno State can also score some points in the middle distance and throws if a few things go their way.

Hawaii Rainbow Wahine
Strengths:
Jumps, Throws
What to Watch: Amber Kaufman is ranked sixth in the world and first in the nation in the high jump (6-3.25). Madara Apine is ranked 35th in the nation in the triple jump (41-5.75). TeRina Keenan is ranked 24th in the nation in the discus (169-7).
About the Rainbow Wahine: Hawai'i is the team that everyone is nervously watching to see what they do. The Rainbow Wahine's best chance to score comes in the form of Amber Kaufman, who is currently ranked sixth in the world in the high jump. Hawai'i is also strong in the other jumps and throwing events and could be a darkhorse in a few of the running events. A strong showing on the track, paired with the expected performances in the jumps and throws, could give Hawai'i just enough to finish in the top two or three at the conference meet.

Idaho Vandals
Strengths:
Middle Distance, Distance, Pole Vault
What to Watch: Lauren Schaffer is ranked 49th in the nation in the 800m (2:07.82). Christie Gordon is ranked 22nd in the nation in the 100m hurdles (13.34). Allix Lee-Painter is ranked 11th in the nation in the steeplechase (10:19.15). Mykael Bothum is ranked 28th in the nation in the shot put (51-7) and 40th in the nation in the discus (166-0). Gabby Midles is ranked 27th in the nation in the hammer (192-4). Ulrike Hartz is ranked 30th in the nation in the javelin.
About the Vandals: Idaho, along with Utah State, possibly has the most motivation to come out on all cylinders at this year's conference meet after having been the runner-up to Louisiana Tech during Tech's recent run of five consecutive outdoor titles. Idaho will have to adjust to the heat and humidity of the South (Ruston is a long drive down the mountain from Moscow) and pace themselves in the middle distance and distance to score as many points as possible on the track. Idaho can also score in the throws and should take home the pole vault title.

Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters
Strengths:
Sprints, Relays, Hurdles, Jumps
What to Watch: Antoinette Cobb is ranked 35th in the world and 14th in the nation in the 100m hurdles (13.22). Quanisha Sales is ranked ninth in the nation in the 200m (23.12) and 29th in the nation in the 100m (11.51). Chasidee Lewis-Baker is ranked 31st in the nation in the 100m (11.53). Tiana Davis is ranked 45th in the nation in the 100m hurdles. Phelecia Reynolds is ranked 21st in the nation in the discus (170-2). Tech's 4x100m relay team is ranked 36th in the world and 31st in the nation (44.83). Tech's 4x400m relay team is ranked 28th in the nation (3:36.20).
About the Lady Techsters: Louisiana Tech has all the tools in place to claim a sixth consecutive WAC Championship but should be looking to qualify more athletes for the NCAA East Preliminary Championships in Greensboro, N.C. at the end of the month. Tech boasts two events (Antoinette Cobb in the 100m hurdles and the 4x100m relay) in which it is ranked in the world rankings and the Lady Techsters could win as many as nine or 10 individual titles if everything goes right. This year's meet means more than just keeping a championship streak alive, however, as the Lady Techsters are determined to win the conference title on their own turf

Nevada Wolf Pack
Strengths:
Hurdles, Middle Distance, Distance
What to Watch: Christina Hibbert is ranked second in the WAC in the 400m hurdles (1:00.36). LaTijera Avery is ranked second in the WAC in the high jump (5-8.75).
About the Wolf Pack: Of the eight WAC schools that compete in women's track and field, Nevada is the only program that doesn't have an athlete ranked in the nation's top 50. That is no reason to overlook the Wolf Pack as they could very easily sneak up on some teams and win a few events, catapulting UNR into the top half of the conference. Nevada's biggest challenge will be adjusting to the heat and humidity of Louisiana in the middle distance and distance races as the Wolf Pack usually enjoy the moderate climate and high altitude of Reno.

New Mexico State Aggies
Strengths:
Distance
What to Watch: Randi Grimes is ranked 33rd in the nation in the javelin (156-9).
About the Aggies: Another team that is strong in the distance races but may struggle with the heat and humidity of Louisiana is New Mexico State. The Aggies other challenge will also be depth with a small roster concentrated in a handful of events. N.M. State is projected to place second in four events and can create up to a 16-point swing for themselves by winning those four events - taking them from the bottom of the league to middle of the pack.

Utah State Aggies
Strengths:
Distance, Throws
What to Watch: Erin Stratton is ranked 19th in the nation in the steeplechase (10:24.08). Lindsey Spencer is ranked 34th in the nation in the discus (166-8).
About the Aggies: Don't let the projected finish and team points fool you, Utah State is very capable of winning the WAC title in an upset bid this season if a few things fall its way. Utah State (and Idaho, for that matter) needs to team up to chip away at Louisiana Tech's top scorers and to churn out some personal record marks for the Aggies to come out on top. USU also faces the same challenge as Nevada and New Mexico State, having never really run in the oppressive heat and humidity that the South is famous for. Luckily for those mountain schools, this meet is held in May and not August.

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