NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 7, 2008) - The University of Connecticut men's track and field team travels to the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City this weekend to participate in the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. This will be the first time the Huskies have participated in what is one of the top indoor meets in the country. Men's field events begin at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, and track events begin at 12:55 p.m. On Saturday, field events will begin at 9:20 a.m. while track events begin at 9:45 a.m.
Some of the top ranked track and field teams in the country will be participating in the meet. Eight of the top 25 ranked teams according to the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) will be at the Armory, including top ranked Arkansas, second ranked Tennessee, third ranked Oklahoma and 10th ranked LSU. Five BIG EAST rivals in Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Syracuse and West Virginia will be participating as well.
The Armory Track and Field Center is the site of this year's BIG EAST Championship meet. Head coach Greg Roy thinks that this meet, as well as the Lafayette/Rider Invitational hosted next weekend at the Armory will benefit the Huskies going into the BIG EAST.
"You never want to go into a BIG EAST Championship at an unfamiliar facility," Roy said. "We will be treating this week as a dry run for that meet, even staying at the same hotel we will be staying at in two weeks to make sure we are ready for everything from a logistical standpoint."
Coach Roy will be fielding a full team this weekend with the objective of scoring as many points as possible. The shorter track races will have preliminary heats where only the best times will qualify for the final scoring race. The longer track races and the field events will have championship, collegiate and consolation levels, with the championship levels reserved for athletes with predetermined qualifying marks. In the jumping events (long jump, triple jump, high jump and pole vault) the athlete has to be in the championship competition in order to score for points for their team, but in all other events the top times or distances score the points for team regardless of which competition the athlete is participating.
Athletes to watch for UConn this week will be Michael Rutt (Sinking Springs, Pa.) in the championship level 800-meter race. Connecticut's top hurdlers Basil Campbell (Ewing, N.J.) and Verrol Jackson (Schenectady, N.Y.) will test their skills against some of the best runners in the nation when they participate in the 60-meter high hurdles. Marquis Thomas (Mattapan, Mass.) will have a chance to score for the Huskies, as he has earned a spot in the championship level high jump competition.
"This is the last scoring meet before the BIG EAST Championship," said Coach Roy. "It is against some of the top competition in the country and will give us a good opportunity to test ourselves and see where we are at."
Following the completion of each day of the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, results and a complete recap will be available on www.UConnHuskies.com.