Wednesday, February 20, 2013

LSC Indoor Track & Field Championships and Team Previews

With the first LSC Indoor Track & Field Championship on tap for this weekend, we are very happy to bring you in-depth previews from the leading expert on LSC track & field, Don Garrett.

Don makes the deadline by the narrowest of margins with  previews of ACU, Angelo State and UIW as well as his predictions for the LSC Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Predictions for the 1st Ever Lone Star Conference
Indoor Track Meet – February 23-24

I think it is great that the LSC will host a conference indoor track meet this year. I laud Commissioner Stan Wagnon who was thinking outside the box to make sure that this meet would be a success. In the NCAA, if a conference fields 6 teams for a conference event, the NCAA will pump funds into the competition to make sure it does not run a deficit. And, in the case of track and field, it must be 6 teams for each gender. The LSC had 5 teams on the men’s side and 7 on the women’s side who were willing to compete in an indoor track meet (the Angelo men did not choose to compete and the entire team from Tarleton and Commerce do not compete indoors.) The LSC extended an “affiliate” invitation to D-II Harding University in Arkansas, who competes as an independent in track and field, since the fledgling Great American Conference does not host an indoor or outdoor conference track meet. Now, the LSC has a guaranteed 6 teams in each gender and a championship competition is born.

The meet appears to be highly competitive in each gender. With only 6-8 teams competing and since the Texas Tech track (where the meet will be held) only has 6 lanes on its indoor track, there will only be 6 places awarded in each event. This will favor the smaller squads with top talent (ACU) and will work against the teams who depend on their great depth to be competitive (West Texas, Angelo). The addition of Harding in the mix will make the meet all that more interesting – the question will be: from whom will Harding poach points? It appears to be a different answer in each gender.

Outdoors, the team race here has long been a battle between ACU and Angelo – decided by only ½ of a point in Angelo’s favor in 2012. West Texas A&M is more of factor each year on the women’s side, finishing 3rd in the LSC outdoor meet in 2012. On the women’s side of the equation, it looks like Harding will cut heavily into Angelo’s points (and, to a lesser degree into ACU’s). On the women’s side, Harding should have a profound effect on the overall standings. Here is how I see it working out in the women’s team race:

1.       ACU – the Wildcat women look very strong, although they have a surprisingly small squad of only 16-17 women. I see them scoring 130-140 points and winning by around 15-20. Lots of points in the sprints (including the hurdles) and in the throws (shot put and particularly the weight throw) . They also have one great jumper and one great distance runner. Look for 2 great competitions involving ACU athletes – the triple jump where ACU’s Amanda Ouedraogo and Angelo’s Kearah Danville are the 2 best triple jumpers in D-II by a country mile and ACU’s Chloe Susset matching up in the mile and the 3K with Harding’s outstanding Polish distance runner Ewa Zaborowska.

2.       West Texas A&M – I give the nod to the Lady Buffs for the runner-up spot. This team has been improving steadily since track was added back in Canyon 4-5 years ago. They are very strong in the distances (3K/5K) and the throws (shot put, weight throw), but they are competitive in virtually every event in the program. If they score heavily in the heptathlon and pick up decent points in the sprints (5-10 points), they could challenge ACU for the entire thing. I see WT scoring somewhere in the 115-125 point range as a team.

3.       Angelo State – I just don’t see the indoor setting being the best place for Angelo. Looking at the performance chart to date, Harding is cutting heavily into their distance points, the place where ASU really won the outdoor crown in 2012. Angelo is extremely strong in the jumps (see above), and have outstanding individual athletes in the shot put and the 800. If Angelo can somehow break in for some points in the sprints and pick up 15-20 points in the distances, they could still challenge WT for 2nd or even give ACU a run for their money. That said, I see them scoring in the 95-105 point range.

4.       Harding – led by the aforementioned Zaborowska, the Harding women will be a solid addition to this meet. The Lady Bison also appear to be strong in the pole vault and they have a strong sprinter who could be a factor in all three sprint events. If they get any points in the jumps or throws, they could challenge Angelo. I see them scoring in the 70-80 point range as a team.

5.       Incarnate Word – there is a definite break between the 1st tier and 2nd tier teams this year in the LSC. UIW has a solid team that is capable of scoring points in the sprints, middle distances and jumps. I don’t know that they will win any events, but they have a chance of scoring in many events. If they could find some points in the throws or the distance events (where they have been quite strong in the past), they could move up to challenge a tier one team. I see them with 45-50 points and that should put them safely in 5th.

6.       TAMU-Kingsville – showed some signs outdoors last year that they were becoming more competitive on the women’s side. They are hurt by having voids in the throws and in the middle distance and distance events. They should pick up many of their points in the vault and high jump. I see them scoring 30-35 points.

7.       Midwestern – one thing is for certain, MSU will score their points in the distance events. They have a national class cross country program and all of their kids are distance runners – they do not have any field event people and only one quartermiler. They will probably score 25-30 points in the 800, mile, 3K, 5K and the distance medley relay.

8.       Eastern New Mexico – the coaching change that happened at the beginning of the school year at Eastern appears to have wreaked havoc on the Zia track squad. It appears that they will score most, if not all, of their points in the jumps, vault and weight throw. They could pick up 1-2 points in the middle distances. It appears that the new coach (hired just before Christmas) will have to rebuild this team from the ground up. Look for them to score 10-15 points in this meet.

This should be a rousing three team battle between WT, ACU and Kingsville. A wild card in the whole meet will be how much can ENMU’s Isaiah Samoei endure, since he is entered in the mile, 3K, 5K and will no doubt anchor their Distance medley relay. Samoei is the best distance runner in the conference and if he can manage that difficult 4 events in just over 24 hours, he will steal points away from both ACU and WT.

1.       West Texas – this looks to me to be WT’s meet to lose, but I said the same thing last year about Kingsville at the outdoor meet and somehow ACU eeked out the win. WT is extremely strong in the middle distance and the distances – if they score more than 60 points in the 800, mile, 3K and 5K, they will be hard to beat. The Buffs have also built up a strong hurdle corps and could score 15-20 points in that one event. WT is also strong in the jumps and they have the best young cadre of throwers in the conference. It all adds up to WT scoring 155-160 points and winning the first even indoor conference meet. And, this team is young, they should continue on this upward trend for the foreseeable future.

2.       ACU – it is neck-and-neck for 2nd place, but I suspect that ACU and pull it out and they could still contend for the title. ACU is very strong in the sprints (with some new, young sprinters), as well as the weight throw and the heptathlon. They have potential strengths in the jumps and the distances. Their outstanding multi-athletes will help them not only in the heptathlon, but in several individual events as well. If ACU can find some points from some of their walk-on kids, they could still win it all. I see them scoring 130-135 points.

3.       TAMU-Kingsville – you know, I see the Hoggies scoring the same 130-135 points as ACU, so a swing of a point or two could make the difference. The Hoggies are hamstrung (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) by the loss of the great Jonathan Woodson – the top sprinter in the LSC and one of the best in D-II, who is rehabbing a football injury. He may be available outdoors, but that will not help Kingsville here. Kingsville is led by 2 of the most electric field event performers I have seen in a while – Jordan Yamoah in the vault and Jeron Robinson in the high jump. These guys are dynamite to watch. TAMU-K will score heavily in the jumps, the throws and the middle distances. If they somehow find some points in the short sprints and the long distances, they could surpass ACU and could contend for the title.

4.       Eastern New Mexico – like their women, the Greyhounds have been hurt in the ill-timed coaching change (is there ever GOOD timing for a coaching change?) They were able to retain Isaiah Samoei and he could literally have a hand in scoring 2/3rds of their total points. Look for Eastern to score around 50-55 points and Samoei could score 30-40 of those. Scary thing for ENMU – Samoei is a senior.

5.       Harding – a solid team, but not as strong as their women’s team. They field a good 4x400 relay that could win it all. They have some good sprinters pick up points in the throws and the vault. Look for Harding to score around 45-50 points and if ENMU’s Samoei should falter running so many events, Harding could slip past ENMU for 4th place.

6.       Incarnate Word – I thought 2 years ago that UIW was ready to move to the next level in the LSC< but they have had some bad luck and have fallen back a bit. They should score pretty well in the sprints and the vault. Their throwers seem to have digressed a bit. UIW probably scores around 25-30 points and will need to find points in the distances, jumps, or throws to have any chance to move up a place or two.
Should be a fun weekend of track and field in Lubbock. I hope some of the athlete’s families and fans are able to make the trip to Lubbock. It is a fast track, particularly for sprinters. I think you will see a lot of kids qualify for the national meet this weekend on the fast track and in a good, competitive setting of a conference meet. 

Top Times (leading into the meet)

LIVE Results

(From the LSC Website)

The Lone Star Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships Meet will be contested on February 23-24 at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Participating Men’s Teams (6): Abilene Christian, Eastern New Mexico, Harding, Incarnate Word, Texas A&M-Kingsville, West Texas A&M.
Participating Women’s Teams (8): Abilene Christian, Angelo State, Eastern New Mexico, Harding, Incarnate Word, Midwestern State, Texas A&M-Kingsville, West Texas A&M.

Athletic Training Center "The Bubble" (located just South of the Texas Tech Football Stadium)
550 University Ave, Lubbock, TX 79401
Fans should use the Northwest Entrance.

DAY 1: Saturday, February 23, 2013
WOMEN’S PENTATHLON                              MEN’S HEPTATHLON
                11:00a   55m Hurdles                                        10:30a   55m
                11:40a   High Jump                                            11:15a   Long Jump
                1:00p     Shot Put                                                 12:30p   Shot Put
                2:00p     Long Jump                                            1:45p     High Jump
                3:00p     800m

RUNNING EVENTS (Women’s followed by Men, unless otherwise noted)
                4:30p     55m Hurdles Prelim
                5:00p     400m Prelim
                5:30p     55m Prelim
                6:00p     5,000m Final
                6:55p     200m Prelim
                7:25p     Distance Medley Relay Final

                3:00p     Men’s Weight Throw
                3:00p     Men’s Pole Vault
                4:00p     Women’s Weight Throw
                4:00p     Women’s Long Jump followed by Men
                6:00p     Men’s High Jump

DAY 2: Sunday, February 24, 2013
                9:00a     55m Hurdles
                9:45a     Pole Vault
                11:15a   1,000m

RUNNING EVENTS (Women followed by Men, unless otherwise noted)
                11:00a   Mile Final
                11:20a   55m Hurdles Final (Men followed by Women)
                11:40a   400m Final
                12:00p   55m Final
                12:20p   800m Final
                12:40p   200m Final
                1:00p     3,000m Final
                1:20p     1,600m Relay Final

                11:00a   Men’s Shot Put
                11:30a   Women’s Triple Jump followed by Men
                12:30p   Women’s Shot Put
                12:30p   Women’s Pole Vault
                1:00p     Women’s High Jump

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico