March 26, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--The UAB track and field team will split up this week, with the sprinters and hurdlers competing in Austin, Texas, at the 2013 Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, Wednesday through Saturday, while the distance runners will compete at the Stanford Invite in Palo Alto, Calif., Friday and Saturday.
"Stanford has become one of the most prestigious meets for distance qualifying in the country," head coach Kurt Thomas said. "Typically, this event and Mt. Sac are the two places you go to run 5,000m and 10,000m to qualify for NCAAs."
A season ago, Hudak finished second in her section of the 5000m with a time of 16:26.41.
"We've had success there over the years with Rhi (Johns), Sarah (Hudak) and others getting big performances," Thomas said. "This year is no exception, we're looking for Sarah, Rhi, Kate (Brown) and Eli (Kirk) to qualify for NCAAs and hopefully do something special performance wise. Coach Tony Houchin has done a fantastic job getting these girls ready for big meets and races, and I expect this weekend to be the same."
The sprinters and hurdlers will face an extremely competitive field at the Texas Relays, with the Blazers set to compete in the 100m dash, 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles, the 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay.
"With our distance crew going to qualify at Stanford, our sprint and hurdle crew is looking for NCAA qualifying performances at Texas relays," Thomas said. "Just like Stanford, Texas is a big time meet where teams go to run fast. It's usually warm and the competition is high. Some of the fastest times in the country in the 4x100m, 100m, 100m hurdles come out of Texas every year."
The blazers go into action this week after winning three events at a weather-shortened Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Senior Rachel Harley won the 400m hurdles with a time of 1:00.26, while the team of senior Shakima Knox, redshirt junior Angel Watson, junior Kyana White and junior Alexis Bates won the 4x200m relay with a time of 1:36.93.
"Our 4x100 team ran very well in not ideal conditions last weekend," Thomas added. "We'll clean up some handoffs and try to put together a great relay. The 400m hurdlers also get a great opportunity to run fast with lots of great competition. Alexis (Bates) and Shakima (Knox) can hopefully get very good 100m races in, as well as Autumnn (Burnett) and Jessica (Shelley) in the 100m hurdles.
UAB also won the 4x100m relay with the team of Knox, Watson, White and Bates finishing with a time of 45.89.
"Our goal is simple: run fast and qualify for NCAA's," Thomas added. "The girls have been working so hard and running very well, so hopefully we can go there and do our job."
Up next, the Blazers will reunite to compete at the Auburn Invite on Saturday, April 6.