March 30, 2013
Fayetteville, Ark. - The weather pulled through for the Tigers today at the Razorback Spring Invitational, as they completed the weekend's competition with a beautiful afternoon of competition. Although a morning storm caused the cancellation of the first flight of men's discus, the clouds quickly dissipated, and the Tigers responded in turn, coming out of the meet with three event winners and 15 new PRs.
First up, though, is the final performance by the Tigers out in California at the Stanford Invitational. Senior Max Storms hit the track Friday night in the 10,000m and finished in 29:25.42, ten seconds off his own school record from the Mt. SAC Relays last year. Storms returns to the longer distances after a memorable senior cross country season, placing 56th overall to be the highest Tiger finisher since 1972.
The strong performances continued in Arkansas on Saturday with highlights from senior Blake Irwin and sophomore Jill Rushin. Irwin, who came into the meet off an impressive 1500m performance at the Missouri Relays last week, returned to the track this weekend in his main event: the 800m run. Irwin had a solid final lap to not only take the win in the race, but run one of the fastest times in the nation thus far with a 1:49.12, only two seconds off his PR.
"[It felt] pretty good. Didn't go quite as fast as I wanted to, there was a little wind, but it was definitely a step in the right direction. I just feel like, right now, somebody's going to have to run really fast to beat me. Unitl that happens, I'm just going to keep going out there thinking I can win every race. That's what I want to do, and in my head, that's what I think I can do. I hate losing," said Irwin. "Next week I get to go and race some really good guys from Penn State, so I'm really excited about that, I know it's going to be really fast. I'm just looking forward to SEC's, Regionals, and Nationals."
Rushin also came through with a win for the day, throwing an outdoor best in the shot put to mark in at 16.19m (53-1.50). This was her first shot put competition of the outdoor season, and sets her up well for the rest of the season with a top ten spot in the nation on the current rankings.
"I was proud of my performance, it sets high standards and I think I'll be doing even better once I feel fresh," said Rushin. "[At this point in training] your nervous system is usually a little messed up. But if I came out and threw better than the end of last year, that means by the end of this year I'll be doing really well. It sets a good tone for the beginning of the season."
The final event win came from freshman Markesh Woodson who ran 10.30 in the 100m dash to take the overall win by 0.15 seconds. The indoor 60m dash SEC Champion and All-American made his outdoor debut this morning in style, as he comes out of the weekend with a top ten time in the NCAA according to current rankings. He has the fastest time in the nation thus far for a freshman.
These three were joined by fourteen more PR performances by the Tigers during Saturday's competition, including a 16-second PR by sophomore JT McCarthy in the 3000m to finish in 8:42.01. Freshman Kyle Smith improved on his 14.25 110m hurdle time from the Missouri Relays today with a 14.07 finish to place third overall in the competition. Sophomore Maggie Givens ended up in fourth for the pole vault after breaking into a new personal best of 3.70m (12-1.50). Freshman Nick Sublett improved by eight inches in the shot put, hitting a top throw of 15.10m (49-6.5).
Next up for the Tigers will be the Crimson Tide Invitational in Tuscaloosa, AL, next weekend. For the latest updates on your Tigers, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.