The Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships will be held Friday and Saturday at Iowa State’s Lied Recreation Center in Ames, Iowa. Texas will be defending its 2013 men’s championship while the Kansas women will have to knock off No. 5 Texas to defend their 2013 title.
The Big 12 has two men’s teams and three women’s squads ranked in the top 25 in the nation in the latest USTFCCCA poll. Texas boasts the top rated teams heading into the meet as the men are currently No. 17 and the women rank fifth. Behind Texas is No. 22 Texas Tech on the men’s side. The Texas Tech women’s squad is ranked at No. 12 and Iowa State rounds out the league’s ranked teams at No. 20.
The action starts Friday as the women begin the championship at 10:00 a.m. with the 60 meter hurdles. The action continues throughout the entire day with the men’s distance medley relay concluding Friday’s events at 9:00 p.m.
The championship resumes Saturday morning at 11:00 a.m. as the men lineup for the 60 meter hurdles. The championship will conclude after the 4 x 400 meter relay at 5:25 p.m.
The Big 12 will stream the entire event on Big12Sports.com.
Adult admission to the Big 12 Indoor Championships is $7 for one day or $10 for a two-day pass. Student admission is available for $3 for one session or $5 for a two-day pass.
Team by team previews:
The Lady Bears are led by three-time defending 60-hurdle champion Tiffani McReynolds, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the Big 12 at 8.05. She will try to become the second female in Big 12 history to win the same event in four straight years. Junior Rachel Johnson also has a top time, leading the conference in the 3,000 meters (9:08.36). The Lady Bears are also strong at the mile distance where Mariah Kelly and Maggie Montoya are second and fourth-best in the Big 12, respectively. In the relay events, the Baylor women rank third in the 4x400-meter relay and fourth in the distance medley relay. Sophomore Brianna Richardson, who is battling an injury, owns the top mark in the triple jump with a leap of 43-0.5 [13.12m], while Erin Atkinson is second in the weight throw with a heave of 65-9. Lauren Cook (high jump), Annie Rhodes (pole vault) and Kaitlin West (triple jump) all own the conference’s fourth-best mark in their respective events.
Iowa State Women
The Cyclones’ team is led by the nation’s top-ranked shot putter in Christina Hillman. The two-time All-American has won four of five competitions this season and was sixth at the USA Championships) and holds the nation’s top throw at 57’5.50”. Ejiro Okoro (800m) and the women’s distance medley relay team will also be important for the Cyclones as both Okoro (2:03.91) and the relay squad (11:11.93) have run to program records this season. Kendra White could also sneak up on her competition after setting the Iowa State program record in the 400 meters in 54.11 seconds earlier this season.
The Jayhawk women enter this year’s Big 12 indoor meet looking to defend their 2013 crown, the first in school history. Kansas returns defending champions in Diamond Dixon (400 meters) and Lindsay Vollmer (Pentathlon) as well as the 2013 NCAA indoor pole vault champion, Natalia Bartnovskaya. The women have big shoes to fill in other events after the departure of 2013 conference champions Paris Daniels (200 meters), Andrea Geubelle (triple jump), Francine Simpson (long jump) and Alena Krechyk (weight throw), but have several young athletes who could turn some heads this weekend in Ames.
Kansas State Women
The Wildcats are led by Erica Twiss, who has had an exceptional year, setting personal bests in five individual events this season. Twiss tied the school record in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.24, and holds top-5 Big 12 marks in the hurdles (fourth), long jump (fourth) and pentathlon (first). Along with the women’s fourth-best 4x400 team, the Wildcats also feature the top-ranked weight thrower in Sara Savatovic and top-ranked high-jumper in Alyx Treasure. Rounding out a deep women’s squad are Joslyn Barnes (fourth) in the high jump and Dani Winters (third) in the shot put, who both rank in conference the top-5.
For the Sooners, the event most likely to produce the biggest number of points is the weight throw as four of the Big 12’s top eight ranked competitors are OU student-athletes. Rylee Rackley leads the quartet and is ranked third. Freshman sprinter Daye Shon Roberson is ranked in the top 11 in the three short sprints and the Sooners have top 10-ranked competitors in the 60 hurdles, the 1,000, the 3,000, the pole vault and the shot put. It’s a young group for the Sooners as OU returns no one who scored as an individual a year ago but the team has shown the ability to step up to challenges.
Oklahoma State Women
The Cowgirls are also poised to do some major scoring in the middle distance and distance events. Savannah Camacho, Kaela Edwards and Clara Nichols are all in the NCAA's top 22 in the 800 meters. Edwards also has the conference's top time in the 1,000 meters, followed closely by Anna Boyert, who has the No. 2 time. The Cowgirls have two top-six times in the 3,000 meters and the mile, as well. Caitlin Way and Chase Ealey are each sporting a top-10 mark in the weight throw and shot put, respectively. Viktoriia Sadokhina has been another bright spot for the Cowgirls, ranking second in the Big 12 in the triple jump.
After being edged by Kansas (150.5-148) last season, the fifth-ranked Longhorns look to claim the Big 12 Indoor title. The Longhorns enter the meet with at least one top-two mark in 10 events, including the 100, 200 and 400 meters. Morolake Akinosun has the top 60 meter time (7.25) and Ashley Spencer leads in the 400 (52.33). The women ran the fastest 4x400-meter relay time (3:30.12) in the nation two weeks ago and also have the top-rated pole vaulter in the country - Kaitlin Petrillose – who looks to repeat as Big 12 Indoor champion. Senior Shanay Briscoe gives the Horns a dual threat in the pentathlon and high jump. Seniors Marielle Hall and Sara Sutherland are threats to score in the mile, 3000 and 5000.
A trio of athletes lead the Frogs heading into the second Big 12 Indoor Championship in school history. Lorraine Ugen, who won the 2013 Outdoor NCAA Championship in the long jump, currently leads the conference in the indoor long jump at 21-0.75. Last year she finished third at the conference meet. Patricia Terry, who set a school record in the mile at 4:42.52, finished third (4:47.75) in the event last year, and was sixth in the 3,000 meters (9:28.92). She is currently ranked third and seventh, respectively, in the conference. Megan Smith, who placed fifth (52-9.50) in the indoor meet last year in the shot put, is ranked second in the conference in the event.
Texas Tech Women
The Lady Raiders enter the Big 12 Indoor Championships loaded with talent and seven separate national top-16 marks including two long jumpers inside the top eight. Returning All-American Cierra White leads the conference in the 200 meters (23.43), is No. 2 in the 60 meters (7.34), and also runs a leg on the 4x400 relay which enters the meet at No. 2 in the conference (3:34.12). Teammate Le’Tristan Pledger will look to score in both the long jump and 60-meter hurdles as the sophomore holds the No. 2 mark in the conference in each.
West Virginia Women
The Mountaineers are led by a trio of seniors entering this year’s Big 12 Indoor Championships. Pole vaulter Katlyn Shelar has finished in the top three of every competition this season, including a second-place finish and a season-best mark of 3.98 meters at the SPIRE Invite. Senior Stormy Nesbit has continued to progress in the triple and long jump events. Senior Sarah Martinelli posted a personal-best mile time of 4:47.13 in her only appearance in the event this season. In the high jump, the sophomore duo of Hannah Stone and Marsielle McBeam has made an impact. McBeam has posted a personal-best mark of 1.72 meters in the event, while Stone has recorded a personal-best jump of 1.73 meters this season.
The Bears are led by sophomore triple jumper Felix Obi, who will be looking to defend his Big 12 crown in the event. He enters the Big 12 Indoor Championships with the No. 1 triple jump in the country this season. He has already broken his own school-record twice in 2014 and currently has a personal-best mark of 53-11.25. In the sprints, freshman Trayvon Bromell has the conference’s third best time (6.65) in the 60-meter dash and is tops in the league at the 200-meter distance (21.02). Blake Heriot is the defending champion in the 200. The junior owns the second-fastest 200-meter mark (21.08) and the fourth-best quarter mile time (47.01) in the Big 12. Obi will also challenge for a title in the long jump as he has the conference’s fourth-best mark in that event at 24-8.25. Freshman George Caddick appears to be the next in a long line of quality 400-meter runners at Baylor. He enters the event with the second-best time in the Big 12 this year (46.73). Sophomore Bryce Grace is the conference’s third-best 60-meter hurdler with a time of 7.98. Baylor’s 4x400-meter relay team will try to defend its title and currently holds the second-best time in the league (3:08.39).
Iowa State Men
The Cyclone men will look to pick up points in the middle and long distance events at this year’s Big 12 Championships. Edward Kemboi, the nation’s leader in the 800 meters at 1:45.98, will lead the charge competing in both his signature event, and in the men’s distance medley relay. The distance medley currently holds the third-fastest time in the conference and has its sights set on the program record (9:35.96). Keep an eye on 2013 cross country All-American Mohamed Hrezi, who will be competing as the Cyclones’ top distance runner. Shot putter Jan Jeuschede also figures to score for the Cyclones.
The Jayhawks expect to see big points out of the pole vault and long sprints this weekend. Kansas saw four vaulters tally scoring performances at the league’s indoor meet last season, including Big 12 indoor champion Alex Bishop. All four return this year and are slated to compete in the indoor championship. Juniors Kenneth McCuin and Michael Stigler also expect to see high finishes in the 400 meters and 600 yards. The Jayhawk duo took second and third in the 600 yards a year ago and currently hold the league’s No. 1 and No. 2 times in the event this year, respectively.
Kansas State Men
The Wildcats are led by a duo of long jumpers, as well as All-Americans Devin Dick and Carlos Rodriguez. Long jumper Devin Field‘s career-best jump of 25-02.75 is first in the Big 12, while fellow teammate, and reigning Big 12 champion, Jharyl Bowry, ranks second with a mark of 25-00.75. In the heptathlon, Dick’s first career victory in the event with a score of 5,505 points is tops in the Big 12, and, on the track, Rodriguez’s season-bests in the 200 meters (21.45) and 60 meters (6.72) rank second and sixth in the conference, respectively.
The Sooners have the ability to score in a variety of events but the strength of the team seems to be the races in the 800- to 5,000-meter range. OU runners are ranked in the top 10 in every event in that range and those runners have shown the ability to perform in highly competitive events. Everette Favor is ranked third in the pole vault and the Sooners should get points from other field events. Oklahoma has a nice blend of returning talent who scored a year ago – Waymon Storey in the 200, Austin Perry and Tyler Sergent in the shot, Matt Wicks (60 meter hurdles), Brandon Doughty (1000) – and new talent – distance runners Alex Deir, Jacob Burcham, Abbabiya Simbassa and Hayden McClain in the triple jump.
Oklahoma State Men
The Cowboys are always a threat to do damage in the distance events, and this year is no different. Three different Cowboys have the conference's top marks in the 1,000 meters (Shane Moskowitz), mile (Chad Noelle), and 3,000 meters (Kirubel Erassa). Also, OSU has the Big 12's top distance medley relay team. The difference in this year's team is the depth in other events. The Cowboys have Tyreek Hill and John Teeters in the Big 12's top five in the 60 meters, and also have athletes in scoring position in the long jump, triple jump and shot put—not to mention defending Big 12 weight throw champion Nick Miller.
Sprinters Raymond Bozmans, Sam Watts and Harvey McSwain all had solid performances at their first-ever Big 12 Indoor Championships last year. Bozmans, who is currently ranked first in the conference and 11th nationally in the 60 meters (6.60), placed eighth last year (7.02), while freshmen Watts (21.65) and McSwain (21.90) placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 200 meters. Narada Jackson (1:10.33) and Justin Chambers (1:10.50) placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 600-yard run. Jordan Moore, the school record holder in the 60-meter hurdles at 7.70, is ranked first in the conference and fifth nationally. He has set the new school standard in the event three times this season.
The Longhorns, ranked No. 17 nationally, will look to repeat as Big 12 Indoor champions. Last season, the Longhorns won three individual titles – shot put (Hayden Baillio), heptathlon (Johannes Hock) and 60-meter hurdles (Keiron Stewart). UT enters this year's meet with the first or second-best mark in the Big 12 in six events, including the shot put, 400 meters and pole vault. Ryan Crouser has the top shot-put mark in the nation (69-8/21.23m), while Reese Watson should vie for the pole vault crown since he ranks 11th on the 2014 national performers list (17-9.75/5.43m). Zack Bilderback gives the Horns a threat in the 200 and 400 meters. He leads the league in the 400 (46.47) and has the fifth-best time in the 200.
The Red Raiders enter the 2014 Big 12 Championships with four athletes ranked among the top-16 nationally led by a pair of high jumpers inside the top-8. Junior JaCorian Duffield and sophomore Bradley Adkins arrive in Ames No. 1 and No. 2 in the Big 12 men’s high jump. Duffield broke the Texas Tech school record by clearing a season-best 7-feet 3.75 inches in the season opener while Adkins boasts a season-best of 7-feet 3 inches. Kole Weldon enters the meet No. 5 nationally and No. 2 in the conference in the shot put with a school record and season-best throw of 65-feet 11.75 inches. He was the conference runner-up last season.