Herd track and field readies for Conference USA Indoor Championships

The Marshall University track and field team will compete in the 2017 Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 18-19 in Birmingham, Alabama. The meet will feature 13 Conference USA teams, as all 14 conference schools but Old Dominion have a track and field program. Florida Atlantic and UAB, like Marshall, have only a women’s program.

“I am absolutely pumped for conference,” sophomore Adriana Cook said. “The team is, the coaches are, it is such an exciting atmosphere on the team right now. Our workouts have been fantastic, we’ve had great races leading into conference, and I really have full confidence that our team will be so successful in conference.”

The collegiate track and field season is split between the indoor and outdoor seasons. The Herd began their indoor season on December 1, 2016 in a dual meet against Ohio University. The indoor season resumed at the beginning of the spring semester on January 13, and the team has participated in a meet every weekend since. The outdoor season will begin for the Herd on March 17 at the Bob Davidson Spring Kick-Off in High Point, North Carolina.

The indoor season has seen seven Marshall school records being broken or tied. Two of these records were broken multiple times by the same athlete. Sophomore Elena Marchand broke the school record in the indoor shot put in the season opener, and has since broken her own record twice more. Her latest record-breaking mark was set at the Chipotle Marshall Invitational with her winning throw of 48 feet, 5 inches (15.16 meters).

Senior Andrea Porter has twice broken the school record in the 1-mile run, with her latest time of 5:01.89 at the Chipotle Marshall Invitational setting the school record. Sophomore Adriana Cook has broken two different school records this season, in both the 3,000-meter run (time of 10:00.06) and in the 5,000-meter run (time of 17:28.86).

Junior Barkley Castro broke the school record in the 1,000-meter run at the Virginia Tech Hokie Invitational with a time of 2:57.11. Sophomore Hasana Clark set the record in the weight throw in Marshall’s opener with a mark of 60 feet, 5 inches (18.42 meters). Additionally, freshmen Safiyyah Mitchell and Danere’a White both tied the school record in the 300-meter run with a time of 40.52 seconds.

“I was really looking forward to this year coming in because I felt like we had a really good young team,” head coach Jeff Small said. “And we’ve seen more national caliber kids rather than just conference caliber kids. I look forward to hopefully breaking some more records this weekend and then starting to re-write the outdoor record book once we get outside.”

The Conference USA Championships get underway at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and runs all day at the CrossPlex in Birmingham. The meet continues Sunday at 10 a.m. ET, and will end at approximately 5 p.m. ET. The meet is streamed live online at CUSA.tv.

“I think all of us have a great opportunity to pull some personal records and surprise a lot of people,” Cook said. “The team is more ready that ever, and the competition will be intense, but that keeps us focused and driven. I just cannot wait to get out there, race, have fun, and see what we can accomplish.”

Patrick O’Leary can be contacted at [email protected]