CEDAR CITY, Utah - Feb. 5 - The Thunderbirds will be back on the road this weekend when the team returns to Flagstaff, Ariz., for the Northern Arizona’s Mountain T’s Invitational. The team will be reunited after splitting between the UW Invitational and Mountain States Games last weekend.
“Our goal in attending this meet is to get the athletes ready to handle multiple events, like they will at the conference championship,” head coach Eric Houle said. “We are also putting the distance athletes in shorter events to build leg speed. With the throwers and sprinters, we’re really working on that movement toward improving their marks and qualifying for the conference championship.”
True freshman and Big Sky Track Athlete of the Week Mike Tate will return to lead the men’s distance squad and is set to race in the 800-meter and 3,000-meter runs. Tate recorded the second-fastest mile in the Big Sky last weekend with a 4:03.84 finish at UW and now ranks second in Southern Utah’s mile behind Cameron Levins (3:57.16).
Recent Big Sky qualifiers Ashley Hawks, Shelli Mogensen, Ibrahim Ahmed and Dylan Marx will also be among the distance squad members competing at NAU, looking to improve their times and post additional qualifiers in preparation for the championship at the end of February.
The multi events will also be in full swing for the T-Birds this weekend, with Big Sky pentathlon leader Shaye Maurer-Springall looking to improve her SUU record of 3843 once again. Russell Nielson, Eric Durrant and Alex Anderson are set to make their season debuts in the multi events and will compete in the heptathlon at NAU.
Thunderbird fans should also keep an eye on sibling duo Kayla Kovar and Jayson Kovar in the throws, as well as sprinters Shaun Murray, Preston Myers, Arnold Carrillo and Kayla Shakespeare.
The T-Birds will then split between two meets on Feb. 14-15, with a portion of the team returning to Washington for the Husky Classic and the rest of the Thunderbirds traveling to New Mexico’s Don Kirbey Elite Invitational.