April 27, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. — The Oklahoma Track and Field program will spread out to three different meets for the second consecutive weekend as groups head to California, Iowa and Texas with just two weeks remaining in the outdoor regular season before OU hosts the Big 12 Championships, May 13-15.
Both men’s and women’s sprinters along with a select number of field athletes will be at the 102nd Drake Relays beginning on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, while men’s and women’s distance athletes travel to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Payton Jordan Invitational on Sunday. The majority of the program’s throwers along with a select number of field athletes will head south to Denton, Texas, for the Mean Green Twilight.
Over 15 ranked teams will be in action at the prestigious Drake Relays led by the No. 6 Oklahoma women. The group, which will have 13 ranked entries in action at the event, will have many ranked battles in the two days of competition that features prelims and finals in many of the events. The No. 9 4x100-meter OU women’s relay leads nine ranked relay in action in the event while the No. 24 4x400 relay faces eight other ranked squads. On the men’s side of the relays, the No. 22 OU 4x100 takes on seven ranked opponents while the No. 38 4x400 faces six ranked foes.
Individual field events will also feature a plethora of ranked athletes with three Sooners ranked in the nation’s top in their respective events. The women’s shot put features the only school in the nation to place two athletes in the nation’s top five of the event as No. 3 Tia Brooks and No. 5 Karen Shump battle 10 other ranked opponents including No. 2 Annie Alexander of Tennessee. OU’s Ti’Anca Mock, ranked No. 4 in the long jump, will take on nine ranked opponents in what could be a Big 12 title preview with No. 2 Mara Griva of Nebraska and No. 5 Francine Simpson of Kansas among the six ranked Big 12 athletes in the event.
On the oval, Eric Bailey, ranked No. 10 in the 400-meter hurdles, will face off against 14 ranked opponents and will attempt to climb the national ladder running against No. 5 Lee Moore and No. 7 Carson Blanks, both of Mississippi.
Meanwhile in North Texas on Saturday, a group of nine athletes accounting for eight spots in the national rankings will be in action in the throws ring. Brittany Borman ranked No. 3 in the discus and No. 5 in the javelin will compete while Luke Bryant, No. 8 in the discus, and K.P. Singh, No. 9 in the hammer throw and No. 18 in the discus, will take to the men’s ring.
In what is known as one of the tougher distance meets in the nation, an OU contingent of 14 athletes that features four ranked athletes will face a host of ranked opponents along with a number of professional distance runners in the meet hosted by Stanford on Sunday night.