Alex Ryan, University of Cincinnati
// AT THE STARTING LINE
The championship portion of the 2016 indoor track and field season is set to begin this week as the University of Cincinnati track and field program heads to the CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala., for the 2016 American Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships. The two day meet, which runs Sunday, February 28, and Monday, February 29, will not only be a chance for the Bearcats to collect conference titles, but also will be the last opportunity to record/improve marks toward qualification for the 2016 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships (March 11-12), which will be held at the same venue as this week’s conference championships.
// BY THE NUMBERS
2 Years in a row Erika Hurd has won the American high jump title
3 Number of returning indoor champions on the UC rosters in 2016
4 Place both the men and women finished in at the 2015 meet
6 Number of conference-leading marks held by UC athletes
10 Times this year a school record was reset and/or tied
12 Number of individuals currently in the NCAA Top 100
15 Number of marks ranking in the American’s Top 3
36 Number of marks ranking in the American’s Top 8 (scoring)
72 Number of marks recorded this year on UC’s all-time Top 10
// FOLLOW ALONG
The conference meet can be followed several ways this weekend via electronic means. GoBearcats.com will post recaps at the end of each day’s action while also providing periodic updates via it’s Twitter (@GoBearcatsTFXC) and Instagram (GoBearcatsTFXC) accounts. Along with the Twitter account of the American (@AmericanXCTrack), The American Digital Network (TheAmerican.org/watch) will have live streaming of the meet, providing over 12 hours of coverage for both days of the competition.
// THE MEET
The 2016 American Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships will be used to crown individual, relay and team champions while also giving competitors one final attempt to post a mark ranking in the NCAA Top 16, which would earn an invitation to the NCAA Championships. The women’s team race will see 11 schools field competitors while the men’s team race will be amongst seven teams. In all, 17 events will be contested by each gender, including one multi-event (pentathlon/heptathlon), two relays (4x400m/DMR) and 14 individual events. All 17 events are the same to be contested at the NCAA meet.
// TEAM RANKINGS
The USTFCCCA National Computer Rankings were released Monday with both the men’s and women’s teams earning points to be ranked again this week, keeping its current 14 consecutive weeks in the rankings alive. The women are ranked No. 32 this week while the men are No. 101. The American Athletic Conference has six teams in each gender ranked heading into the conference meet.
// DOUBLED UP
At the start of the 2016 indoor season, the Bearcats women had been nationally ranked in the USTFCCCA computer rankings 53 of a possible 64 releases. During that span, the women held a position in the Top 50 six times total, including three times each in 2012 and 2015. With this week’s release, the Bearcats women have effectively doubled their total as they have been ranked in the Top 50 all six weeks in 2016. The women, now ranked in the Top 40 in each of the past five weeks, have nearly doubled their historical total as the 2012 squad held rankings of No. 31, No. 37 and No. 32 for the only Top 40 rankings UC had held prior to this season.
// THE COMPETITION – WOMEN
Eleven schools will send competitors to the conference meet this weekend, including (with national rank): Cincinnati (#32), East Carolina (#65), Houston (nr), Memphis (#83), SMU (#128), Temple (nr), Tulane (#117), UCF (nr) and USF (nr).
// THE COMPETITION – MEN
Seven men’s teams will have competitors entered this weekend, including (national rank): Cincinnati (#101), East Carolina (#55), Houston (#27), Memphis (#109), Tulsa (#20), UConn (nr) and USF (#54).
REMAINDER OF THE RELEASE, ALONG WITH STATS AND RECORDS, CONTINUES AT THE LINK: