The Sam Houston State track team will hit the track Friday and Saturday at Yoeman Fieldhouse on the University of Houston campus, looking to bring home a Southland Conference Indoor Track Championship.
Head coach Greg Hinze said he is looking forward to the meet, despite the fact his team is better suited for the outdoors.
“I’ve said many times before, we will be a better outdoor team for both the men and the women because we have a significant number of points tied up in events like the javelin that aren’t contested indoors. The highest we have ever finished indoors is fourth, but having said all of that, I am very optimistic about this weekend.”
“On the men’s side, Hinze said there are several athletes to watch.
Joe Amburn is the defending champion in the 3,000-meter, Courtney Boston is the defending champion is both the 60-meter and 200-meter dash, Adrian Ray is an NCAA provisional qualifier in the 60-meter hurdles while Randy Flach (pole vault) and Raul Villarreal (300-and 5,000-meter) are top contenders to watch for.
“Joe Amburn goes into the meet with a chance at three titles and the men’s high point award,” he said. “Courtney Boston is looking to defend two championships and Adrian Ray is going to be our workhorse. We’re going to saddle him up and ride him as far as he will go.
“We have a lot of quality but very little depth and conversely, Southwest Texas and Northwestern State have a lot of depth but little quality, so we aren’t going to be able to afford very many mishaps,” he said. “Our quality people have to rise to the top because we aren’t going to be able to nickel and dime people. Every time the men have finished fourth indoors, we went on to finish second outdoors.
“So, our goal is to finish in the top three and set a record for number of points scored. If we can get close to 100 points then I feel we will have a chance at the championship and if we were to pull off the indoor championship, barring injury, people should be very concerned about us on the outside.”
As for the women, Karina Mancias will look to have a strong performance in the 5,000-meter after finishing second last year. Hinze is also looking for strong performances from Gaby Mendoza in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter, Tenika Powell, shot put; Jennie Sewell-pole vault and Renitta Woods in the 60-meter hurdles and the Pentathlon.
“Our women are much improved over last year and we’ve made a lot of progress from week to week this year. However, and I don’t want to keep using the inexperience thing as a crutch,” Hinze said. “With as many new people we have, it’s hard for me to gauge just how they’re going to perform in a pressure situation. I do feel as though we have the potential to finish in the top three but our freshman can’t act like freshmen for that to happen. Jennie Sewell, Renitta Woods and Gaby Mendoza all have a chance to medal as freshmen and if we were to get on a roll, we could make things interesting.”