By Nate Perry, TTU Sports Information
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Tennessee Tech track and field team has been away from competition for six weeks after kicking off its season at the Vanderbilt Indoor Opener, but will return to action this weekend at Kentucky's Nutter Field House for the Jim Green Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
Friday's events begin at 3 p.m. CT, while the festivities set for a very busy Saturday will get underway at 10 a.m.
Only three events – the weight throw, the high jump and the distance medley relay – will be held on Friday afternoon.
Saturday will feature the long jump, shot put, pole vault and triple jump for field events. The 60-meter hurdles kicks off the running events at noon, followed by the 60m dash, mile run, 400m, 800m, 200m, 3,000m, and the 4x400 meter relay as the finale.
COACH ANGEL QUOTABLES
"We are very excited to get back into competition, and to see how we measure up with some very good schools that will be at the meet."
"Last month, we competed in off-events in order to give some of our student-athletes the opportunity to get their feet wet. This weekend, we will be at full strength in terms of our team, and we will step up the level of intensity as a result."
"We want our ladies to establish themselves and set the tone for the season. We are looking for our upperclassmen to resume where they left off last year, and continue the commitment to excellence and a championship mindset."
THE GOLDEN EAGLE LINEUP
It will be the first competitive high jump attempt of the season for all four athletes, and the first in a Tech uniform for Akili, a freshman from Trinidad and Tobago.
Roberts placed third in the high jump at last year's OVC Indoor Championships, and won the event as a portion of the pentathlon thanks to a career-best 1.79-meter leap. With 3,834 points, Roberts went on to be crowned the OVC's pentathlon champion.
That same foursome, along with senior Raven Smith, will be active in Saturday's first event, the long jump.
Smith took sixth place in the long jump at Vanderbilt, as she recorded an indoor personal best of 5.62 meters.
Two other freshmen – Taylor Macklin and Abby Mink – will go in the shot put, which also begins at 10 a.m. Macklin used a 12.30-meter throw to take a top-10 finish in her first-ever collegiate meet at Vanderbilt.
Wickham produced one of the Golden Eagles' grandest highlights at last year's indoor conference championships, setting a new school and OVC meet record with a time of 7.41 seconds that won the 60m dash.
Freshman Janet Kwambai will make her first collegiate attempt in the mile run at the Jim Green. At Vanderbilt, Kwambai garnered a runner-up finish in the 3,000 meters with a time of 10:19.13.
Tech will send five – Akili, Anderson, Roberts, Jordan Toney and Wickham – to the starting line in the 200 meters, the most in any single event. Roberts owns the best career mark of that group, 24.59 seconds, which was set at last year's Arkansas Tyson Invitational. Akili was the only one to compete in the event at Vanderbilt, where she clocked a 25.22 for fifth place overall.
Cross country star Purity Sanga will see the first indoor track and field action of her career when she competes in the 3,000 meters at 5 p.m. Sharon Chepkemboi, who also stood out for the cross country team this year as a freshman, will join Sanga.
Chepkemboi was yet another freshman to take an impressive result at Vanderbilt, coming in third place in the mile run with a time of 5:28.25.
Tech will also field a 4x400-meter relay team on Saturday. The Golden Eagle quartet will be selected from a pool of five runners – Akili, Anderson, D'Airrien Jackson, Roberts and Wickham.
Jackson and Roberts were two pieces of the 4x400m team that ran a converted time of 3:42.96 to reign supreme at last year's OVC Indoor Championships. That mark also set a new TTU program record.
A field of 27 women's programs awaits TTU at the Jim Green.
Several larger-conference institutions will be in attendance, including Ohio State and Indiana (Big Ten), Louisville (Atlantic Coast Conference), Cincinnati (American Athletic Conference), Butler and Xavier (Big East), and the host UK Wildcats (Southeastern Conference).
Kentucky, Louisville and Cincinnati sent team members to last year's NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Eastern Kentucky will be on hand to help Tech represent the OVC.