March 7, 2001

NORMAN, Okla. - Eight members of the University of Oklahoma track and field teams will head to Fayetteville, Ark., this week for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The meet is hosted by the University of Arkansas at the Tyson Track Complex, one of the top indoor track facilities in the country. Action begins on Friday afternoon and continues through Saturday evening.

The Competitors Are . . .
Bambi Carson (senior, Marlow, Okla., shot put) was OU's lone automatic qualifier. Seven other Sooners were invited to participate in the meet as provisional qualifiers. They include Michael Westlund (sophomore, Choctaw, Okla., pole vault), Leslie Dunlap (freshman, Choctaw, Okla., pole vault), Alesha Peel (senior, Tulsa, Okla., 60-meter hurdles), Ernest Lewis (junior, Mt. Vernon, N.Y., 400-meter dash), and the men's 1600-meter relay. That quartet includes senior LaBoris Bean (Houston, Texas) and juniors Lewis (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.), Moses Washington (Miami, Fla.) and Raoul Harvey (St. Andrews, Jamaica).

The Schedule
Bambi Carson will open the competition for the Sooners with the women's shot put scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Alesha Peel will run in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles at 4:35 p.m. with the final scheduled for 7:40 p.m. Ernest Lewis starts competition in the 400-meter dash in the preliminaries at 5:25 p.m. Friday with the final scheduled for 6:55 p.m. Saturday. Michael Westlund will start competition at 5:30 p.m. in the pole vault.

On Saturday, Leslie Dunlap will open competition in the women's pole vault at 5:30 p.m. The men's 1600-meter relay will be a final only and it is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. Saturday.

Team Rankings
The Oklahoma women are ranked 26th in the nation according to the U.S. Track Coaches Association power rankings through March 1. The Sooner men are ranked 48th in the same poll. Results from last weekend's Qualifier meets were not included in the final poll.

NCAA Rankings
The Sooner men's 1600-meter relay enters the competition ranked fifth in the country with its March 2 time of 3:06.98. Michael Westlund is ranked 10th in the country with a vault of 17-8.5, recorded on Jan. 26. Alesha Peel is ranked seventh in the country heading into the meet with her best time of 8.19 recorded on Feb. 17. Leslie Dunlap is 19th in the pole vault with her mark of 12-10.25, posted on March 2. Ernest Lewis ranks 19th in the country with his 400 time of 46.73 posted on Feb. 9. Bambi Carson is ranked seventh in the country heading into the championship with her 53-3 effort on March 2.

Last Year
This marks the first trip to the NCAA Indoor for Bambi Carson, Alesha Peel and Leslie Dunlap. Michael Westlund qualified last year and finished 12th with a vault of 17-4.5. LaBoris Bean and Raoul Harvey were members of OU's NCAA runner-up 1600-meter relay last year. Ernest Lewis was an alternate last year on the 1600-meter relay while Moses Washington is returning to NCAA action after earning All-America honors in the indoor 1600-meter relay and the 800-meter run as a freshman. Peel qualified for the NAIA National Indoor Championships while competing for Southern Nazarene. She finished second in the indoor 55-meter hurdles in the NAIA meet. Peel had a provisional time last year but was forced to miss the NCAA meet because of an injury she suffered at the Big 12 Championship.

The Last Time Out
Senior Bambi Carson won the shot put title at the ISU Qualifier with a season best of 53-3 last Friday. The mark beat the NCAA automatic qualifying standard and marked a career best for Carson.

Senior Joey Scott lowered his career best mark in the 60-meter hurdles with a school-record 7.88. Other Sooners who posted NCAA provisional marks on Friday included Jimyria Hicks in the 200, Leslie Dunlap in the pole vault, Janel Hayes in the long jump, Ernest Lewis and LaBoris Bean in the 400 and the men's 1600-meter relay composed of Lewis, Raoul Harvey, Moses Washington and Bean. Their time of 3:06.98 was nearly two seconds faster than their previous best time this season.

Sooners who won their events included Dunlap, who improved her provisional mark to 12-10.75, and Sand Swaby, who won the high jump with a career-best jump of 5-9.25.

The provisional marks by Hicks and Bean were their first of the season. Scott and Hayes both dropped their previously posted NCAA provisional marks.

For Hayes, her jump of 20-4.25 marked the third time this season for her to change the school record in the long jump. For Scott, it was the second consecutive week for him to change the 60-meter hurdles.

Dunlap won her second pole vault title in two days and sophomore Michael Westlund won the men's pole vault title at the Nebraska Qualifier on Saturday.

Dunlap, who won the ISU Qualifier on Friday with a season-best effort of 12-10.75, cleared 12-6.25 to win in Lincoln. Westlund, who did not compete on Friday, won with a vault of 17-7. Neither improved previously posted NCAA provisional marks.

Moses Washington, who ran the second leg of OU's provisional qualifying 1600-meter relay on Friday, finished fifth with a 1:51.58, a season-best time for him but three seconds short of the NCAA automatic qualifying time.

Nationally Ranked But Not Participating
Staneshia Bell (60-meter dash), Janel Hayes (long jump), Jimyria Hicks (200-meter dash), Joey Scott (60-meter hurdles) and LaBoris Bean (400-meter dash) posted provisional marks but were not invited to the NCAA meet. Bell finished 35th with her time of 7.43 record on Feb. 23 at the Big 12 Championship. Hayes finished 19th with her school-record jump of 20-4.25 on March 2. Hicks was 33rd with her time of 24.04 on March 2. Scott was ranked 29th with his time of 7.88, a new school record, that he ran on March 2. Bean ranked 23rd with his time of 46.97 posted on March 2.

Next Up
While several Sooners will be in Fayetteville, Ark., for the NCAA meet on March 9-10, the rest of the Sooners have begun training for the outdoor season opener in mid March. The combined event athletes will compete March 15-16 with the rest of the team joining them for the College Station Relays on Saturday, March 17. That meet marks the start of OU's 11-weekend outdoor slate that will end with the NCAA Outdoor Championship in Eugene, Ore., May 30-June 2. The Sooners will compete every weekend but May 25-26 and will often have student-athletes at multiple meets.

Contact
Track and field SID Debbie Copp will be traveling to Fayetteville, Ark., with the team. She will be staying at the Hampton Inn with the team and can be reached at (501) 756-3500 after Thursday afternoon.