In search of better competition weather, a few members of the Boston University track and field team will venture to Fairfax, Va., to compete at the George Mason Invitational.
Several Terriers have been exposed to cold New England temperatures in most of their meets, and have been unable to compete to their full potential as a result, said BU director of track and field Robyne Johnson.
“All these kids just need another opportunity to get into hopefully a little bit better weather than we’ve been having in the Northeast, and get their times up,” Johnson said.
Freshmen distance runners Kevin Thomas and Alec Olson are expected to compete this weekend. Thomas is ranked second in America East in the 5,000m run, after posting a time of 14:27.37 at the Raleigh Relays March 29, while Olson ranks third in the 3,000m steeplechase with a 9:28.69.
“[They’ve] done a fabulous job,” Johnson said of her freshmen. “So we’re looking forward to them.”
Senior Robert Gibson, whose time of 14:48.54 is fourth best in America East on the season, is expected to compete. Sophomore Ben Ravetz and senior Elliot Lehane, who both have had success in the 1,500m run this season, will also run Saturday.
Senior Nikki Long and freshman Shelby Stableford will highlight the female distance runners Saturday. Stableford’s time of 11:42.30 in the 3,000m steeplechase ranks fourth among all America East women.
Johnson said this particular invitational is a good opportunity for the distance runners.
“It’s going to be a place, particularly for distance running, they have a whole kind of distance carnival, if you will, for this particular meet,” Johnson said. “That’s what the meet is really all about.”
Only a few non-distance runners will be competing this weekend. Senior Shelby Walton, who ranks in the top five in America East in the 100m dash (11.98 seconds), will run the same event this weekend.
Junior Nikko Brady will compete in the 100m hurdles, an event in which she possesses the second-best time in the conference at 13.98 seconds.
“I looked at some results from last year, and there were some good sprinters that showed up,” Johnson said. “We thought we’d bring [a few] kids down and give them another opportunity.”
Sophomore Tessa Runels, whose mark of 12.35m in the triple jump is the second best mark in America East for the outdoor season, will be the only Terrier participating in a non-running event. Last weekend, she had a mark of 11.81 meters at the Florida Relays in Gainseville, Fla.
Some of the top competitors for BU, including graduate student Zachary Ray, senior R.J. Page and reigning America East Track Performer of the Week, senior Tewado Latty, will have the weekend off, Johnson said.
Ray, the top America East competitor in the 110m hurdles (14.01 seconds), is coming off a strong showing last weekend. Page’s time of 21.07 seconds in the 200m dash at the Florida Relays was a conference season best.
Latty also earned a new conference season best in the 400m dash last weekend, posting a time of 47.16 seconds. This mark is also 20th best in the NCAA East Region.
Ray, Page and Latty combined with freshman David Lagerberg last weekend for a ninth-place finish in the 4x400m relay at the Florida Relays.
“The rest of our guys are going to take the weekend as a training week and really build into the meet next weekend,” Johnson said, referring to the MIT Invitational, which will take place April 20. “The week following is a pretty big weekend.”