April 17, 2007
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Kehoe Track Complex at the University of Maryland will host the 2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships from April 19 through 21.
Maryland will serve as host to the ACC Outdoor Championships for the first time since 1996, the year the track and field complex was dedicated in the name of former coach and University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Famer Jim Kehoe. More than 20 stadium records remain from the 1996 ACC Outdoor meet which included outstanding competitors like those who will appear this weekend.
"There is no doubt that records will be set this weekend and performances will be achieved that will be at the top of the nation," said Maryland head coach Andrew Valmon. "It is an honor to provide a facility to host the athletes that make up some of the top competitors.
"In addition to showcasing these top performances we also are excited to invite back the alumni who once competed at the top of the conference, including Jim Kehoe, whom the track facility is named after."
Events begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday with the men's hammer and will continue that night through the men's 10,000-meter run scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. Friday's events begin at 10 a.m. with the second day of the decathlon and are expected to finish with the men's steeplechase at 7:15 p.m. Saturday's final day begins with the women's shot put at 11 a.m., with the awards ceremony scheduled at 4:15 p.m.
A full schedule of events is available at www.theacc.com.
Exclusive three-day coverage of the championships will be available for fans to watch at 8 p.m. ET nightly from Thursday through Saturday on ACC Select. Thursday and Friday's coverage will consist of recaps of 30 minutes or more showcasing the highlights and triumphs from the majority of the day's competition, with events that begin later in the evening being part of the following day's show. Saturday's show will feature a recap of all of the day's events, including the awards presentation.
Three men's teams and two women's teams are ranked among the top 20 in the nation, including the top-ranked Florida State men.
Clemson was ranked 10th and North Carolina was 17th in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll of April 10.
Florida State has won each of the last two men's team titles at the ACC outdoor meet, with Clemson and FSU finishing in the top two spots in each of the last seven ACC Outdoors.
The Seminoles beat Clemson for the 2007 men's ACC indoor title at the meet held at Clemson in late February and those two teams are expected to battle it out for the men's outdoor title as well. Florida State finished second at last month's NCAA Indoor Nationals.
On the women's side, Virginia Tech rolled to a 37-point victory at the ACC Indoor meet at Clemson, scoring 136 points. Currently, Miami is the top-ranked team in the USTFCCCA outdoor poll at 14th, while Duke is 19th nationally.
The Hurricanes have won the last two ACC women's team titles at the outdoor championships. Duke was the league's top team at the 2007 NCAA Indoor, placing 12th. Five ACC teams placed in the top 18 in the women's NCAA indoor team standings this past March.
"The individuals and the teams that appear at the ACC competition will later be represented on the podium at the national meet in June," said Valmon.
In 2007, the Maryland men's and women's teams have taken somewhat different paths to get to this weekend's conference meet under fourth-year head coach Andrew Valmon.
The Terrapin men, led by three-time All-America hurdler Dominic Berger, have a number of talented sprinters ready to make an impact on their home track. A junior class that includes Berger, Sean Lowe and Earl Gray could have Terps in finals from the 200 meters to the 400 meters to the 110 hurdles.
Berger returns as the conference champion in the short hurdles and was second at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor. He is among the national leaders in the 110 hurdles again this season, with a best of 14.03 giving him a NCAA regional-qualifying mark.
Lowe has IC4A-qualifying marks in both the 200 (21.24) and 400 (47.21) this outdoor season, while Gray is also in the IC4A meet in the 200 (21.49).
Adam Durham, a senior, is the other Maryland men's student-athlete with a qualifying mark for NCAA regionals, carrying a 14.22 in the 110-meter hurdles. His 53.59 mark in the 400 hurdles is an IC4A mark.
Sophomore David Edwards-Brennan has a solid pre-conference mark in the high jump and could score in that event this weekend. His best this season is 6 feet, 10.25 inches. He joins freshman long jumper Jason Allen as qualifiers for the IC4A Outdoor.
The Maryland women have a young team after the graduation of a senior class that included two All-Americans and four point-scorers from last year's ACC outdoor meet. That class accounted for half the Terrapins' points a year ago.
Junior Jillian Anwah and senior Zakiya Shivers lead a talented group in the throwing events that gives Maryland a good chance at some points this weekend. Anwah has NCAA regional-qualifying marks in both the shot put and discus.
Junior Toni Aluko has consistently improved during her time at Maryland and is among the league leaders in the high jump and the triple jump. Sophomore Chanel Williams is another Terp with solid performances thus far outdoors, carrying an ECAC-qualifying mark in the 400 hurdles and just missing that meet's standard in the 100 hurdles.
Senior Zhanna Barer was All-ACC two years ago in the women's pole vault and returns to make an impact on that competition in her final season in College Park.
Elsewhere, the Terrapins are loaded with talented freshmen and sophomores who seek to gain valuable experience at the conference championships and hope to make the most of some "home-track advantage."