April 30, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. (SMU) -- The SMU outdoor track & field team is set to travel to Tampa, Fla., to compete in the inaugural American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships this weekend at the USF Track & Field Stadium. The meet will last from May 2-4 as the Mustangs look to win the school's first women's outdoor conference title. In addition, SMU will look to complete the trifecta this weekend as the Ponies have already won the inaugural cross country title last fall and the indoor track & field crown on March 1.
TRACKING THE CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Fans can follow the championships on the Internet through The American's Championship Central Page here: www.TheAmerican.org/OTF
Available through this link is the schedule for each day/results once an event is finished and the American Athletic Conferences Championship Program.
LIVE VIDEO COVERAGE:
The American Digital Network will be producing live video coverage of the championship. Below are the links for each day:
Friday, May 2: http://theamerican.org/watch/?Live=64
Saturday, May 3: http://theamerican.org/watch/?Live=65
Sunday, May 4: http://theamerican.org/watch/?Live=66
Following this weekend, qualifiers will compete at the NCAA Preliminary Rounds on May 23-24 in Fayetteville, Ark.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN:
SMU has four student-athletes across seven events that hold the top time or mark in The American heading into this weekend's championship. The four individuals include sprinter Stephanie Kalu, throwers Rayann Chin and Helena Perez and multi-event athlete Lucija Cvitanovic.
For the throwers, Helena Perez holds the top mark in two events including the hammer throw (61.34m) and the shot put (15.92m) while Rayann Chin sits atop The American in the discus with a toss of 52.48 meters.
Lucija Cvitanovic is ranked first in two events including the heptathlon (5,455 points) and the javelin (49.15m) while Kalu stands first in two races including in the 100-meter dash (11.15 seconds) and the 200-meter dash (23.80 seconds).
SMU has three throwers, two multi-event athletes, one sprinter and one distance runner ranked in the top-100 in the country according to tfrrs.org.
For the throwers, Helena Perez is ranked 16th in the hammer throw (61.34m) and 34th in the shot put (15.92m) while Tochi Nlemchi is ranked 60th in the same event with a mark of 15.22 meters. In addition, Rayann Chin sits 34th in the discus (52.48m) and 86th in the shot put (14.72m).
Lucija Cvitanovic is ranked in the top-30 in two events including 15th in the heptathlon (5,455 points) and 28th in the javelin (49.15m). Lisa Egarter stands 28th in the high jump with a leap of 1.78 meters.
Tova Magnusson leads the Mustang distance runners as she ranks 43rd in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10.23.85. Stephanie Kalu leads the SMU sprinters as she sits 28th in the 100-meter dash (11.45 seconds) and 97th in the 200-meter dash (23.80 seconds).
SMU split its team between the Michael Johnson Invitational and the Sooner Invitational two weekends ago and totaled 19 top-10 finishes between the two meets. Senior thrower Helena Perez led the Mustangs at the Sooner Invite in Norman, Okla. as she placed first in both the hammer throw (61.34m) and the shot put (15.84m). Perez' mark in the hammer was a personal-best for the senior. Senior multi-event athlete Lisa Egarter rounded out the Mustangs who competed at the Sooner Invite as she earned runner-up honors in the high jump with a leap of 1.78 meters.
Sophomore Shanoah Souza led SMU at the Michael Johnson Invite in Waco, Texas, as she placed first in the steeplechase with a time of 10:57.78. The Mustangs had four top-10 finishes in the 5000-meter run and were led by Agnes Sjöström as she captured second with a time of 16:51.66. In addition, the freshman finished third in the 1500-meter run in 4:32.05. Sophomore Karoline Skatteboe finished eighth (17:39.28) and sixth (4:33.41) in each of those races. In the 800-meter run, sophomore Holly Archer posted a time of 2:11.42 to finish seventh. Junior Stephanie Kalu finished ninth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.80 seconds.
PEREZ DISPENSES ANOTHER AWARD:
Following her outstanding performance at the Texas Invitational, senior thrower Helena Perez was named the American Athletic Conference outdoor track & field Athlete of the Week for the second consecutive week. The honor is the second of her career and SMU's seventh this season. Perez took first place in both the shot put (15.92m) and the hammer throw (60.34m). The senior ranks 25th in the hammer throw and 27th in the shot put, nationally. She also holds the top mark in The American in each event. She earned this honor a week ago for placing first in the same two events at the Texas Tech Open.
Following her fifth-place performance in the heptathlon at the 87th Annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, sophomore heptathlete Lucija Cvitanovic was named the American Athletic Conference outdoor track & field Athlete of the Week. The honor was the first of her career and SMU's fifth this season. Cvitanovic scored a personal-best 5,455 points over the seven events where she won the javelin with a mark of 48.26 meters (826 pts.), finished fourth in the 800-meter run in 2:18.38 (846 pts.), placed sixth in the shot put with a mark of 11.89 meters (654 pts.) and earned ninth in the high jump (1.66m, 806 pts.), 14th in the long jump (5.51m, 703 pts.), 15th in the 100-meter hurdles (14.71 seconds, 880 pts.) and 21st in the 200-meter dash (26.67 seconds, 740 pts.).
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM:
Junior Stephanie Kalu was named as the American Athletic Conference's first outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week on March 25. Kalu earned this award for finishing first in the 100-meter dash and second in the 200-meter dash, breaking her own school record in the 100-meter and setting the school record in the 200-meter as she posted times of 11.15 and 23.21 seconds, respectively. This was the third weekly honor this season for Kalu as she earned the accolades following her outstanding performances at the Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational and the Masked Rider Invitational in Lubbock, Texas.
Following her outstanding performance at the Iowa State Classic, junior thrower Rayann Chin was named the indoor track & field Athlete of the Week on Feb. 18. Competing against a strong field in Ames, Iowa, Chin took first place in the weight throw with a mark of 20.82 meters. That mark ranked her first in The American, 14th in the nation and second all-time at SMU in that event. In addition, Chin placed fourth in the shot put with a distance of 14.92m.
THE FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP:
The Mustang cross country team achieved many goals during the 2013 season and will now try to carry that momentum into the indoor and outdoor seasons for track & field. The team accomplishments from this past fall included winning the inaugural American Athletic Conference Championship and advancing as a team to the NCAA Championship meet by placing second at the South Central Regional meet. Individually, SMU had six individuals earn All-American Athletic Conference honors and three student-athletes earn All-Region accolades.
THE SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP:
SMU won the inaugural Indoor American Athletic Conference Indoor Championship as the Mustangs totaled 118.5 points over the two-day meet. Three student-athletes claimed individual titles for SMU as juniors Stephanie Kalu (60-meter dash, 7.31 seconds) and Rayann Chin (shot put, 15.99 meters) and sophomore Lucija Cvitanovic (pentathlon, 3,854 points) led the way for SMU. Chin was named as the 2014 Most Outstanding Field Athlete while Director of Track & Field Dave Wollman and his staff were selected as the Women's Coaching Staff of the Year. The title was the first women's indoor crown in program history. The meet was held at the Armory in New York.
SPRINT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD:
Following an outstanding spring where junior sprinter Stephanie Kalu set the 100-meter dash record at SMU and earned honorable mention All-America honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships; Kalu was invited to compete in the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Track & Field World Championships in Moscow, Russia last August where she ran the 100 and on the 4x100-meter relay team.
"Stephanie is a break through athlete for us as she has taught everyone on this team regardless of their specific event to dream big," Director of Track & Field Dave Wollman said. "She has raised the bar and helped everyone to have greater focus and discipline."