MT T&F back to Birmingham

Blue Raiders compete at Birmingham CrossPlex for the second time in two weeks

January 17, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee track & field teams make a second trip to the state of Alabama and the Birmingham CrossPlex to compete tomorrow in the Auburn Indoor Invitational.

The all-day meet will start at 10 a.m. with the women's weight throw and conclude with the men's 4x400-meter relay at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Middle Tennessee is one of 11 teams competing Saturday with Southern Miss being the only other Conference USA school to compete. In addition to Southern Miss, the field includes: Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Tennessee State, Ole Miss, Samford and Vanderbilt. The Florida State men's squad is currently ranked No. 7 in the country with the Georgia and LSU women's teams ranked No. 5 and No. 8, respectively.

"In these meets there are so many of these teams that we don't worry about the rankings," said Head Coach Dean Hayes. "The only think we worry about is Conference USA so it really does not bother us one way or the other. We just go down there to try and get decent performances to get us ready for the Conference USA Indoor Championships."

In MT's fourth team meet of the season, the Blue Raiders will look to continue their strong performances to date. Last week's results saw 12 top-five finishes including, a first place finish in the 400-meter by Emmanuel Tugumisirize with a time of 47.36, which nearly bested his personal-record time of 47.33 set at the Christmas Invite Dec. 7.

"This meet is our second trip to Birmingham in two weeks and it is the track that we will be running the Conference USA Indoor Championship on," Hayes said. "This time we are trying to get some decent performances in the events that we want to be in. For example, (Eliud) Rutto will run the 800-meter. It is his main event and the one he hopes to qualify in for the NCAA."

Rutto was the only other Raider to take home a first place finish at the Blazer Invite, running the 1,000-meter in 2:29.81. He also finished second in the mile with a time of 4:12.22 on day two of the invitational. Rutto's personal-best time of 1:51.74 was set earlier this year at the Christmas Invitational.

Following the performances of the men's squad, Rhema Cheruiyot added two top-five finishes last week while Jackline Kiprono set a new personal-best time in the mile. Cheruiyot placed fourth in the 1,000-meter on day one of the invite and fourth in the 5,000-meter on day two.

Kiprono's lone individual event last week was the mile, where the freshman finished in a time of 5:05.84. She shaved nearly three seconds off her previous personal-best time and helped the women's distance medley relay finish second with a time of 12:00.89. Kiprono is scheduled to compete in the 3,000-meter for the first time this season.

Results will be posted on GoBlueRaiders.com following the conclusion of the final event Saturday night. To follow the meet live, click here.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.