"It's been a little while since some of our athletes have competed," head coach Eric Houle said. "We're hoping to really get the outdoor season going and put our athletes in positions to qualify."
Many members of the distance and sprints teams will rejoin the competing T-Birds, having taken a three-week break from competition after the indoor Summit League championship. Diana Medina-Mitchell returns for her final outdoor season after sweeping the mile, 3,000-meters and 5,000-meters at the indoor conference.
Shaun Murray and Jasmine Paicely-Mullins return to lead the sprinters in the outdoor season. Murray tallied points towards Southern Utah's indoor victory after finishing first in the 60-meter dash and second in the 200-meter dash, while Paicely-Mullins recorded a second-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles on the women's side.
Southern Utah's jumpers and throwers had an early start into the outdoor season two weeks ago with the UNLV Invitational. Zane Hunzeker and Kyle Kopp led the men in jumps with second-place finishes in the pole vault and long jump respectively, while Chelsea Morely-Atkinson and Lesli Kinkade took the top two positions in the women's pole vault.
The men began the outdoor throws with first-place finishes by Chris Johnson in the shot put and Hunter Naisbitt in the discus, while Phillipe Renaud and Cody Olsen finished second in the hammer and javelin respectively. Olsen's javelin mark of 215-5 improved his previous third-place SUU record. Kayla Kovar leads the women in throws after a first-place finish in the shot put and second-place finish in the discus at UNLV.
The Thunderbirds will take a two-week break after this weekend's events before hosting the first of three home meets, the SUU/NAU Dual, on March 31. The dual is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the Eccles Coliseum.