This weekend could be huge for the Niner tracksters as the squad hosts the 2009 Atlantic 10 Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Belk Track and Field Facility. Here is a list of five things to look for on Saturday and Sunday.
1. In the history of the Atlantic 10 there has never been an individual athlete win four straight individual titles in the same event. In a conference that has seen the likes of the Penn State and West Virginia, you would think someone has made a career sweep in an event, but no one finished the task. Watch for Charlotte All-American long jumper Pat Springs to set A-10 history this weekend in the long jump. Springs, the three-time defending long jump champ, comes into the meet with a seven plus inch lead over Temple's Brittany Clybourn.
2. Eight straight championships. Many teams have won three straight titles (think Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan or the new millenium Lakers with Kobe and Shaq), but only one major sports team has ever won eight straight titles (Boston Celtics: 1959-66). Even those ridiculous UCLA teams under John Wooden couldn't get past seven in a row, which the Niner women have already matched. Charlotte's women's squad will be searching for an unprecendented eighth straight title overall and fourth straight outdoor title. Imagine a class going through their entire 49ers career winning every conference championship possible, it could happen this weekend.
3. Performer of the Year defense. Sophomore Darius Law has taken the conference by storm. At Rhode Island last season, Law took home a rare double by earning Rookie of the Year and Performer of the Year honors at the 2008 Outdoor Championships. If you need a frame of reference here, just think Ichiro, Wilt the Stilt or Earl Campbell.
4. Multi-event winners. Charlotte could boast as many as five multi-event winners if things go as planned. First, on the men's side, Darius Law could pull the double in the 200m and 400m dash events, while Jake Deaton/Jason Roberts could possibly pull in victories in the discus and shot put if they have sensational weekends. On the women's side, Aja Jackson and Lamarra Currie could win two events a piece. Jackson could be victorious in the 800 and 1500m runs, while Currie should win the 100m and 200m dash events. Finally, Pat Springs could pull the Jackie Joyner Kersee by pulling off a win in both the sprint and field events. Springs is of course the favorite in the long jump, but could look to defend her 100m hurdles title as well. And yes, we know the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th century combined heptathlon and long jump, but close enough.
5. Twelve-time A-10 Coach of the Year. Where would he possibly put them all? If you want to know, just ask Niner mentor Bob Olesen. Olesen has already raked in 10, yes 10, A-10 Coach of the Year awards. Some coaches just dream of getting one, but Olesen has one, with a zero after it! If the Niners sweep this weekend, Olesen could make it an even dozen Coach of the Year awards. Does anyone has an oversized egg carton for this guy?
Action starts on Saturday with the heptathlon and decathlon at 9:00 a.m. and wraps up with the award ceremony on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. To watch the action live click the following links: Day One
and Day Two