Track team, three from California, on west coast for Brutus Hamilton Open

Track team, three from California, on west coast for Brutus Hamilton Open

By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information

COOKEVILLE Tenn. – A lineup of 14 members of the Tennessee Tech track & field team will be in California this weekend to compete on an extremely high level at the Brutus Hamilton Open, led by three runners who return to their home state to showcase their abilities.

Junior Sarah Brandt (right in photo above) and freshmen D'Airrien Jackson (left in photo above) and Jenna Storms (photo below left) head home to lead the Golden Eagles in the two-day meet being hosted by the University of California-Berkeley. Brandt hails from Oroville, while Storms is from Cottonwood and Jackson comes to the mid-south from Santa Clara.

The field of teams gives the Golden Eagles a new perspective, after running against many of the top teams throughout the South and East regions of the country during the first two months of the season. This weekend, Tech will face athletes from St. Mary's, Texas-El Paso, California, Wyoming, Arizona, Sacramento State, Nevada, Santa Clara, New Mexico and Utah State. The Chinese women's team will also have runners in the race.

"The Brutus Hamilton will be a great opportunity for Tech to compete against some of the top teams in the west," said head coach Wayne Angel, whose roster includes a couple of runners who have logged some of the top times in the nation. "Our ladies are fit and in great shape, so I hope to see numerous breakthroughs this week in California."

Jackson currently headlines the Tech lineup, after posting a school-record in the 800-meter run last week. Her time of 2:08.81 currently ranks first in the Ohio Valley Conference and 49th in the East Region. She also owns the best OVC time this year in the 400-meter dash at 52.64 seconds, which is 11th in the region.

Jackson's 400m school-record is currently 19th in the country and 49th in the world.

Brandt also takes home with her some impressive credentials in her first season as a Golden Eagle. In March, she was crowned the OVC Indoor Champion in the 800m, alongside freshman Na'Asha Robinson who captured the OVC Indoor title at 400m. Storms was among the cross country's team's top performers in the fall, and is competing in middle distance events during the track team, including the 1,500-meter run in Berkeley. 

The Golden Eagles are coming off a weekend in which they competed successfully at the Austin Peay Invitational, while freshman Sharnique Leonce had a strong outing competing in the heptathlon at the University of South Alabama. The competition last weekend, along with this week's efforts on the west coast, are all built toward developing the team for a peak performance at the Ohio Valley Conference outdoor championships, May 13-14.

"Our goal this week is to continue to improve on our performances, boost our confidence level, and place ourselves in a strong position leading into the OVC championships in three weeks," Angel said.

Here is the schedule of competition for Saturday (Friday's entries to be determined by the host school Friday morning):

10 a.m. – Long Jump: Raven Smith
11:30 a.m. – High Jump: NaScottisha Drummond
12:30 p.m. – 1,500m: Jenna Storms, Anna Cooper
1:05 p.m. – 100m Hurdles: Sharnique Leonce
1:35 p.m. – 400m: Na'Asha Robinson, D'Airrien Jackson, Jaydean Joseph
1:55 p.m. – 100m: Morgan O'Neal
2 p.m. – Triple Jump: Raven Smith
2:15 p.m. – 800m: Sarah Brandt
2:40 p.m. – 400m Hurdles: Crystal Liebenberg, Madison Stremler
3:05 p.m. – 200m: D'Airrien Jackson, Na'Asha Robinson, Jaydean Joseph
4:05 p.m. – 5,000m: Purity Murray
6:30 p.m. – Javelin: Antonia Susnjar