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Saadiq Sweezer will run in the 400m dash.
Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
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Niners Ready for C-USA Championships This Weekend

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte men’s and women’s track and field teams head to Murfreesboro, Tenn., for the 2016 Conference USA Outdoor Championships, hosted by Middle Tennessee from Thursday, May 12- Sunday, May 15

The championship will begin at 1:30 p.m. CT on Thursday with the combined events, which will include the heptathlon and decathlon. The multi-events will conclude on Friday, while other field events begin, including the hammer throw and the pole vault. The day will conclude with distance events.

On Saturday, track preliminaries and final jumps will take place, while the finals for the running events will be held on Sunday.

A group of five seniors on the men’s side will look to lead the charge, with redshirt senior three-time All-American Trey McRae ranked first in the league in both the high and long jumps, where he ranks second and tenth, nationally. He is also competing in the triple jump. Joining McRae in the jumps is fellow senior All-American Anthony Campbell, who comes into the weekend ranked second in the conference in the triple jump. Campbell is also slated to compete in the long jump.

On the track, redshirt seniors Anthony Bynum, a two-time NCAA Finals participant, and four-time school record holder Michael Tamayo, are expected to also finish in strong fashion. Bynum will run in the 200m dash, where is currently ranked fourth and looking to upset. Tamayo, who is coming off setting a new school record and regional qualifying time last weekend at NC State, will run the 800m. He, too, is fourth and looking to overthrow for medal contention.

Rounding out the core five is another All-American in senior K’Vonte Scott, who will compete in the decathlon, as well as two additional throwing events, in just his third meet back from an injury that has plagued him for most of the season.

Also looking to provide help on the men’s side is freshman Stevan Veselinovic, who took the gold medal in the weight throw at the 2016 C-USA Indoor Championships. He will compete in the hammer throw, an event he has broken both the school’s and a Serbian Under 23 National record in this season.

A total of nine men will compete in the sprinting events alonfgside Bynum, while five Niners join Tamayo in the distance races. A trio of men are expected to compete in both hurdle events, and five jumpers will accompany McRae and Campbell. Charlotte will send two men into the pole vault event, both of which are competing in additional events, and a total of four Niners join Scott and Veselinovic in the throws. Scott is also joined by a pair of participants in the decathlon.

On the women’s side, the duo of senior Taylor Carcella and junior Victoria Merriweather look to continue to lead the squad. Both are ranked third in the league in their respective events (Carcella- 800m, Merriweather- Discus, Hammer Throw) and each medaled at the 2016 Indoor Championships (Carcella-silver, Merriweather-bronze).

Junior Ashleigh Handchen enters the meet with the second best performance in the 3,000m Steeplechase this season, and will also run in the 5,000m. Classmate Carolina Casin-Silva sits in fourth in the steeple. 

Other competitors looking to help the women’s fleet are senior Alvonna Blakney and sophomore Kristen Williams. Williams narrowly missed podium at the 2016 Indoor Championships, finishing in 4th  in the 400m. Blakney took gold in the 100m hurdles event at the C-USA Outdoor Championships a year ago and reaching the podium four other times throughout her college career. 

A total of eight sprinters will join Williams, and four distance runners accompany Carcella, Handchen, and Casin-Silva. Five women will be entered in jumping events, three are slated to compete in the pole vault, one in throws, and two in the heptathlon.