CEDAR CITY, Utah - Jan. 16 - The Thunderbirds are set to spend another weekend on the road as the track and field squads split between New Mexico's Cherry & Silver Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M., and Northern Arizona's NAU Invitational in Flagstaff, Ariz.
"I think there will be a really good level of competition at both venues this weekend," head coach Eric Houle said. "It should be a really good set of meets for the athletes who are ready to see improvement."
The group traveling to Albuquerque will be comprised mainly of throwers and distance runners, led by athletes such Kayla Kovar and Ryan Barrus. Kovar hit the ground running as she met Big Sky qualifying standards at NAU's Lumberjack Team Challenge last weekend. Competing in the shot put and weight throw, Kovar also earned Southern Utah's first track and field Athlete of the Week recognition in the Big Sky Conference.
This weekend marks Barrus' first indoor meet of the season as he, along with several of the distance runners, sat out the opening meet. Joined by Clinton Rhoton, Elijah Rono and Devan Antczak, Barrus returns from a third-place team finish at the Big Sky Cross Country Championship to lead the distance squad in the indoor track season.
While some of the throwers and runners compete at New Mexico, the group returning to Northern Arizona will include athletes from all of the track and field events. Alex Anderson will compete among the leading jumpers after breaking the Southern Utah triple jump record and qualifying for the Big Sky Championship at the Flagstaff arena last weekend. Other returning Big Sky qualifiers include Kodai Kusano, Shaun Murray and Stephen Wilson, who met conference standards in the 60-meter hurdles, 60-meter dash and long jump respectively.
The T-Birds will next travel to Seattle, Wash., as the squads unite to compete in Washington's UW Invitational on Jan. 25-26.