STORRS, Conn. -
The UConn men’s track and field team competes at the American Athletic Conference championship this weekend, which takes place Friday through Sunday at the Tellez Track at the Carl Lewis International Complex on the University of Houston Campus.
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UConn and Houston are the only two teams to have ever won an American outdoor championship with the Huskies taking the title in 2015 and the Cougars winning in 2014 and ’16. When indoor track is included, it’s still just UConn and Houston that have won team titles in league history with UH at five and UConn at two.
“The American has really evolved as a track and field league,” said UConn head coach Greg Roy. “I really enjoy competing in it. Houston has so much speed, so if we can negate the speed we have a chance for a good weekend.
“Everybody wants to beat us and we want to beat Houston. When you looks at this year’s field, Houston might be a 50-point favorite, but that can change in a hurry if just a few events go the right way.”
Senior Chinedu Amonu (Ewing, N.J.) will be a key for the Huskies as he runs in relays and the sprints and junior Trenten Beram (Hopewell Junction, N.J.) is also an important part of the UConn relays.
“A lot of things can happen in a track meet when somebody drops two places,” said Roy. “A team loses points, plus another team gains points. Eight-point swings can be huge.”
UConn has the top four seeds in the triple jump in sophomore Malik Snead (Trenton, N.J.) and freshmen Nile Uzzell (Somerset, N.J.), Ronel Forde (Cohoos, N.Y.) and Ivan Nyemeck (Quebec, Canada). Snead is currently ranked tenth in the country in that event at 53 feet, 1 inch.
Freshman Cameron Thompson (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) is the top seed in the hammer throw while junior Stephon Henry (New Britain, Conn.) will be important for the Huskies in the hurdles. Henry is ranked third in the conference in the 110-meter hurdles and fourth in the 400.
The Huskies have two of the top three javelin performers in the league with junior Kevin Foster (East Lyme, Conn.) at No. 1 and junior Seth Zuidema (Midland Park, N.J.) is third. Foster has a long throw this year of 236 feet, six inches at the UCF Black and Gold Challenge.
In addition to the goal of winning the conference championship, the Huskies are also looking to qualify as many performers for the NCAA Eastern Regionals in Lexington, Kent., on May 25-27.
“We want to be all together after the conference meet and I think we will get qualifiers for the NCAAs this weekend,” said Roy. “The better the team does this weekend, the more people will go to regionals.”