Track And Field To Host Blazer Invite

Shaquela Leatherwood and the Blazers open the 2013 slate on Friday.

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Jan. 9, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--The UAB track and field team returns to the Birmingham CrossPlex this week when it hosts the Blazer Invite on Friday.

The Blazers will host a field of 30 teams, including the Academy of Art, Alabama State, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Austin Peay, Bethune Cookman, Birmingham Southern, Charlotte, East Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Jackson State, Jacksonville State, Johnson C. Smith, Kenesaw State, Lake Erie, Lipscomb, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Mississippi College, Samford, Savannah State, Shorter, South Alabama, South Carolina State, Southern, Troy, Tulane and Western Kentucky.

"We are really excited to host our annual Blazer Invitational, and host so many great teams," head coach Kurt Thomassaid. "There are many very talented DII teams coming to our meet to test out the facility. The DII NCAA Championships will be here in March, so we're able to have The Academy of Art from San Francisco coming to our meet, as well as Lake Erie College from Cleveland, OH, along with lots of talented SEC teams in Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and several other regional teams with great athletes and coaches.

"It will really be a display of talent in all event areas from teams from all over the country, and UAB and my staff are humbled to be able to host them all."

UAB opened the indoor season at the CrossPlex for the Panther Indoor Opener on Dec. 1. At the meet, redshirt senior Rhiannon Johnsset a personal best and the school record in the 3K, winning the race with a time of 9:28:58. Johns' previous best in the 3K was a 9:34.92, set during her junior campaign.

"All teams are really in the same boat at this time of year," Thomas continued. "You train all fall long, compete in December, which for us was a very good meet, then send the athletes home for four weeks for the holidays, so you never really know who's going to be fit and ready to compete, and who isn't.

Also for the Green and Gold, senior Shakima Knox ran unattached in the 60m dash, and finished in 3rd place with a personal best 7.60. Redshirt junior Angel Watson ran a 7.70 in the second heat of the race while senior Thelyssa Katchenran a 7.82.

"I feel our team is in a good position to get a good competition in, see what we need to work on over the next weeks of training, and be ready to compete during the latter part of our season at bigger and championship meets," Thomas said. "I think we'll be ready to make UAB and the City of Birmingham proud."

Up next, the Blazers will travel to South Bend, Ind., Feb. 1-2, to compete in Notre Dame's Meyo Invite.