On Friday and Saturday, the Track and Tennis Center will host some big names as the Boston University track and field team hosts the annual Terrier Invitational.
More than 2,000 athletes will participate in the meet, with the women’s competition starting at 2 p.m. Friday, and the men’s beginning 9 a.m. Saturday.
“We’re going to have 2,300 athletes here, so we’ll have quite the event going,” said Robyne Johnson, director of track and field at BU. “We’ll have a lot of competition.”
Last Thursday, the Terriers had a successful showing at their first meet of the season, led in particular by their hurdlers and distance runners.
One of those competitors, graduate student Katie Matthews, won the 3,000m run in a time of 9:14.71, coming just two seconds shy of the school record. She was named America East Track Performer of the Week for setting the national standard in the event.
Johnson expects Matthews to have a strong meet again despite the increased competition.
“Katie’s … a very good competitor and she thrives on competition,” Johnson said. “So I think there will be some good competition this week, and she’ll be able to stay motivated. She always wants to get better … she’ll do her best.”
Another top performer from last week, graduate student Zachary Ray, will participate in the 60m hurdles and the long jump after winning both events at last week’s meet.
Johnson said she has no doubt that Ray — and other athletes — will step up with more talented competitors in the lanes next to them.
“Our athletes usually step it up as the competition gets a little different,” she said.
Athletes who will be competing for the first time this season include senior sprinter Tewado Latty, the reigning 400m America East indoor champion, and fellow senior sprinter Shelby Walton, who won the 200m dash at the 2011-12 indoor America East Championships.
The highlight of Saturday’s competition will likely be the men’s one-mile run, in which the field will contain several sub-4:00 milers. U.S. Olympian Galen Rupp, one of the biggest names in distance running, will compete in the event. Rupp is the American record-holder in the 10,000m and silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics. His personal best in the mile is 3:57.10.
An All-American and national runner-up in the mile run last season, BU junior Rich Peters will also attempt to break the 4:00 mark Saturday, as he has many times in his career. Peters’ personal best in the event is 3:57.83.
Fellow junior Stuart Ross, who placed third in the 1,000m in the 2012-13 opening meet, will compete as well.
The gun for the mile race is expected to go off at about 3:50 p.m.
“I think you’ll see some good times from all of them,” Johnson said of the milers. “They’re all ready to run fast, so the energy is going to be high. When you set things up like this it brings a lot of anticipation, and I think we’ll have a good crowd. The mood in the building will be great. Every year we’ve had a fast mile, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Johnson said the crowd will act as an energizing force for the athletes.
“[There are] a lot of people in here, and good energy. They’ve been running all year, training, but it’s a whole different situation when you have a full crowd.”
Johnson said with most of the team competing this weekend, it will finally be a chance to see everyone’s progress.
“It’s one thing to run against all your teammates, but to get out, and have other uniforms and run against them, it makes it look more special,” Johnson said. “They’ll get a chance to see exactly where they are, and hopefully step up to the plate and have a good meet.”