May 3, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - The Irwin Belk Track & Field Center on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Charlotte will be the setting for the 11th annual Atlantic 10 Men's and Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships on May 5-6.
Charlotte claimed the 2006 men's title in its first year in the Conference after amassing 205 points, snapping runner-up Rhode Island's five-year reign atop the standings. URI and the 49ers will contend with Duquesne, Fordham, La Salle, Massachusetts, Richmond, Saint Joseph's, Saint Louis, Temple and Xavier in their quest for the men's title.
Senior Mike DiDio of Saint Joseph's, who garnered Most Outstanding Track Performer honors a year ago, looks to defend his title in the 1,500m after setting a Championship record in 2006 with a time of 3:50.19, while Duquesne junior Tom Slosky seeks his third consecutive gold medal in the 3,000m steeplechase. In addition, Saint Joseph's looks to extend its streak in the 4x400m relay to eight consecutive league crowns.
On the women's side, Charlotte rolled up 210 points, the second-highest total in Championship history, en route to capturing the 2006 title. Richmond finished second with 112 points, while four-time champion Rhode Island (2002-05) placed third with 97.25 points. Others vying to dethrone Charlotte are Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, La Salle, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph's, Saint Louis, Temple and Xavier.
La Salle senior Rachel Papin, who has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in both the 5,000m and 10,000m events, looks to defend her crown in the 5,000m this weekend. Papin, the 2006 A-10 Most Outstanding Track Performer, set a meet record with a time of 16:33.31 to become the third different runner in program history to win the 5,000m at the Championship. Junior Beth Crocus of Richmond, who earned Most Outstanding Field Performer honors a year ago, seeks gold in the hammer throw and javelin for the second consecutive year, while 2006 All-American Shareese Woods of Charlotte looks to defend her Championship-record times in the 200m (23.74) and 400m (53.70) dashes.
For the Hawks, senior Valerie Ramirez looks to improve on her sixth-place finish in the 100m hurdles at the 2006 championships. The SJU 4x100 relay team took fourth place in 2006, and will try to crack the top three and get on the podium in 2007.
The first day of the 2007 Championships, which marks the inaugural year of competition for Saint Louis in men's and women's outdoor track & field, will begin with the women's heptathlon on at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 5. On Sunday, May 6, the men's decathlon begins the second day of competition at 8:45am. The complete schedule of events can be found on the Atlantic 10 website.