The Bulldogs travel to Virginia Tech this weekend for the Big South Conference indoor track and field championships.
"I'm pretty excited right now," said head coach Jesse Norman. "I'm feeling a lot better after a good meet at the UCS Invitational this past weekend."
The men's team enters the weekend ranked eighth in the conference, while the women's team is seventh.
"The goal for the men's side is to beat Winthrop, who is in a similar scoring situation," Norman said. "The women's side will be pretty exciting, There's a 14-point difference between fifth and ninth, and we could be anywhere in that. We have to do well in our money events: the mile, the distance medley relay, high jump and the weight throw."
The women's team is bringing 13 athletes, the largest squad for an indoor conference since Norman became head coach.
"Of the 13 we're bringing, we're expecting at least 11 women to score," Norman commented. "At this point, these are projections; you can''t know what's going to happen because there are so many other factors that weigh in"
The men's team will field nine athletes in three open running events, two relays and five field events.
"We're hoping to score our major points in the DMR (distance medley relay) and the weight throw," Norman said. "Hopefully we can get a few in the mile and maybe even the 4x4, too."
The conference standings are based on the list of athletes for each event. They are ranked according to their season-best performances. These rankings are scored, and the teams are ranked by points.
Bulldogs to Watch
On the women's side, freshman Argia Gibson will make her first appearance in the long jump and triple jump.
"Argia is right on the cusp of scoring in both of her events; she's ranked 10th in long jump and ninth in triple jump," Norman commented. "I think she's got a good chance to get in there."
Sophomore Kelsie Rubino will play a big role for the Bulldogs as well. She'll be competing in the 800-meter run, the mile, the DMR and the 4x400-meter relays.
"Kelsie will definitely be a workhorse for us this weekend, and it will be interesting to see how she handles it," Norman said."She'll be running the 800-meter leg of the DMR that we are hoping to get some big points from."
Senior Rachel Carson will be running in the open mile as well as anchoring the DMR, which is also a mile.
"I'm really happy to see Rachel have such a big breakthrough season her senior year," Norman said. "Rachel and Kelsie both have been doing some great things for us."
Senior Corey McClintock enters the weekend ranked fifth in the weight throw.
"We're hoping to get some big points from Corey in the weight," Norman commented. "It's another big event for us this weekend."
Senior Meredith Foster will compete in the high jump, in which she is ranked third.
"Having only jumped one time this season, I'm excited to see Meredith go out there and hopefully shock some people," Norman said.
On the men's side, senior Kurt Hibert is tied for fourth in the weight throw.
"Kurt has really stepped up his game," Norman said. "He'll be one of our big contributors for points."
The men's distance medley relay team, comprised of Caleb Smith, Chase Stevens, Patrick Osborne and Andy Thornburg, is also ranked fourth in the Big South going into the weekend.
"Chase and Caleb have been a couple of true freshmen for us," Norman commented. "Caleb does not run like a freshman; he is very smart when he races. Chase has competed well for us as well. I feel like he has a bright future with us."
The Big South Championships will begin at 10 a.m. Friday in Blacksburg, Va., with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles.
"The team seems to be pretty relaxed," Norman said. "That's a good sign for us, and I'm excited to see what happens."