By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer
For the 19th consecutive year, the Carrier Dome will be the site of the Big East Indoor Track and Field Championship. This year's competition is Saturday and Sunday.
It is among the better track and field events on the Central New York calendar, featuring sprint trials on day one and finals on day two. Distance races and field events are on both days.
Connecticut won the first Big East Indoor men's title in 1980. Since then, Georgetown has won the most men's championships with seven, including three of the last four. Villanova has dominated the women's competition, winning the first six titles from 1983 through 1988, and adding four more titles in the 1990s for a total of 10 championships.
Syracuse won the men's title in 1992 and was runner-up to Georgetown in 1991. The Orangewomen finished second to Villanova in 1987 and 1988.
Competition starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with the men's and women's pentathlon, followed by the weight throw and the long jump. Running events start at 11:30 a.m. with the 55-meter hurdles, sprints trials and semifinals, followed at 1:50 p.m. by trials in the 500 meters, 400 meters, 200 meters, the mile, 1,000 meters and 800 meters. The first day concludes with the seeded heats of the 5,000 meters at 5 p.m., the distance medley relays and the unseeded 5,000 meters.
For the first time in the Big East Indoor Championship, the women's pole vault competition makes its debut at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday's field events start at 10:30 a.m. with the triple jump, followed by the high jump, shot put and men's pole vault. Running events start at 11 a.m. with finals in the 1,000 meters, 800 meters, 55 meters hurdles and sprints, the mile at 12:20 p.m., 500 meters, 400 meters, 200 meters, and seeded and unseeded heats of the 3,000 meters at 2 p.m.. The championship meet climaxes around mid-afternoon with the 1,600 and 3,200 relays, leading to the awards ceremony.
If the early season statistics are any indication of predicted performances, then Georgetown should win both team championships. Its main competition may come from Connecticut for the men's title, and Pittsburgh for the women's title.
In individual competition, Syracuse freshman Cory Hubert leads the Big East Conference with a 7-foot high jump, and expects a good meet. In addition, several Syracuse University athletes expect to score for the team. These include David Byrd in the 200 meters, Roger Donaghy, Nate Getman and Matt Norton in the 5,000 meters, Pete Johncour in the pole vault, Josh Patulski in the shot put, and Ben Galyardt in the weight throw.
For the Orangewomen, Shaunte Sheard and LaToya Redden expect to score in the 55-meter sprint, Deniece Bell in the 55-meter hurdles, Alicia Crowd in the 400 meters, Leslie Dise in the high jump, Maureen Wickerham in the shot put, and Veronica Dyer in the pentathlon. The Orangewomen also expect to place in the relays, and will attempt to break the school record in the 3,200 meters.
As the competition gets under way in the Dome on Saturday, a team of Syracuse University Engineering students will be busy covering the meet on the World-Wide Web.
In addition to posting reports, pictures and results throughout the meet, team leaders Lobrenzo Wingo and Chriss Knisley are planning the world's first live video coverage of a track meet on the web.
So, even if your weekend schedule does not permit a stop in the Dome to watch Syracuse's most exciting track and field meet of the year, you can still catch some live action at http://uplink.syr.edu/BIGEAST/.
Kamal Jabbour's RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. He maintains The Syracuse Running Page and receives email at firstname.lastname@example.org.