Track Preps for Outdoor Conference Championship
BOULDER-The University of Colorado track and field team will compete at the 14th annual Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships this Friday through Sunday, May 14-16 at the Aubrey J. Walton Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
CU returns just one conference champion this season, Kenyon Neuman, who won his title in the 10,000-meter run at the 2008 championship in Boulder. Neuman has not competed in the 10k this season, but he ranks seventh in the Big 12 in the 5k and 17th in the 1,500-meter run.
Neuman will be joined by several Buffs in the distance and middle distance events. Aldo Vega ranks first in the conference in the 10k. He ran a time of 29:15.57 in his debut of the event on March 26 in Palo Alto, Calif. Jordan Kyle is third overall in the 10k (29:20.97) and Andy Wacker ranks fifth (29:31.03).
CU is also stacked in the men's 5k. Richard Medina currently ranks third overall in the Big 12 (13:48.26), while Vega is fourth (13:49.56). Three other Buffaloes rank in the top 10 as Matt Tebo is fifth and Kyle is ninth (13:54.61). (Neuman is seventh.)
Another distance event that looks good for the Buffs is the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Christian Thompson has the fourth best time (9:03.04) and Aric Van Halen is ninth overall (9:12.7). Steve Kasica and Matthew Biegner have been looking strong in the middle distance events. Kasica currently leads the Buffs in the 800 and ranks 20th with a time of 1:51.10. Biegner is 23rd overall with his time of 1:51.27.
The sprinters are also looking strong and are led by CU outdoor 200-meter record holder Jeremy Dodson. He is looking for his first Big 12 individual title after recorded several runner-up finishes. Dodson has a good chance to win that elusive title and maybe more as he is second in the league in the 100 (10.42) and is third in the 200 (20.65). Dodson has also played an important part of the CU 4x100-meter relay for the last few years and continues to do so. That relay, made up of two of Dodson's younger brothers (A.J. Whitaker and Quinton Dodson) and Kyle MacIntosh, ranks sixth in the league (40.19).
Adam Salzmann, Eddie Taylor and Alex Von Hagen were close to scoring for the Buffs in the heptathlon at the indoor championship and are looking to make an impact in the decathlon. Salzmann leads the trio with a point total of 6,865, which ranks seventh in the Big 12. Taylor is 10th (6,168) and Von Hagen is 11th (5,919).
There are also points to pick up in the field events. Jason DeWitt ranks 15th in the high jump (6-08). Dane Chobanian leads the throwers with an eighth-place ranking in the discus (182-03). He also ranks 20th in the hammer throw (158-04) and 21st in the shot put (49-05.50).
The women's team also looks good heading into the championship. Laura Thweatt is in the top 10 of the 1,500 (4:25.27, 10th), 5k (16:11.55, sixth) and 10k (34:34.41, sixth) events. Shalaya Kipp ranks 10th in the 5k (16:29.38) but debuted in the steeplechase last weekend and turned in the eighth best time in the conference (10:36.04). Emma Coburn currently has the second best time in the NCAA Division I in the steeplechase (9:56.29) and could be headed for a very high place on the podium. She has the best time in the conference by more than six seconds.
Elizabeth Tremblay and Brooke Regan are two freshman middle distance runners. Tremblay ranks 18th overall in the 800 (2:10.58) and Regan is 30th (2:13.48).
The women's combined event athletes are also looking to have strong performances at the championship. Brianne Beemer is seventh in the conference in the heptathlon (4,669 points) and Katie Dreher is ninth overall (4,515). Both look to compete in other events and could do quite well. Beemer is 11th in the 400-meter hurdles (1:00.96) and Dreher is 17th in the triple jump (37-02.25).
Kaity Kark and Emily Hunsucker will lead the Buffs in the throws. Kark is 14th in the discus (154-06), 17th in the hammer throw (160-04) and 23rd in the shot put (46-03.50) while Hunsucker is 22nd in the hammer throw (151-01), 28th in the shot put (41-05.25) and 30th in the discus (124-00).
The meet schedule is slightly different this year, as the 10,000-meter run will be the first event contested on Friday. The women start at 8:15 a.m. (CST) and the men follow at 9 a.m. The combined events will start at 11:30 a.m. and the first field event is the men's hammer throw at 2 p.m. Live stats for the championship can be found at www.big12sports.com and www.flashresults.com.
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