NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With three weeks of rest and training now passed since the successful conclusion to the indoor season, the Belmont University track and field programs are poised to make their spring outdoor debuts this weekend at Georgia Tech's Yellow Jacket Invitational.
The two-day outdoor meet begins at 6 p.m. Friday at Griffin Track in Atlanta with the hammer throw and 5,000 meters. Field events resume at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the running competition kicking off again at 12:30 p.m.
"For outdoor season we would really like to keep rolling with what we have been doing," said Associate Head Track and Field Coach Cameron Harvey. "Everybody looks ready to go. The mindset is definitely there. I'm interested to see what they can do."
The Bruin men are coming off a fourth-place finish at the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships in February in which they accumulated 100 point, their most ever since joining the OVC in 2012.
Belmont had one conference champion in the indoor season in junior Ben Weisel (Nashville, Tenn.), who captured gold in the mile. Two other Bruins finished runner-up in junior pole vaulter Ryan Lipe (Franklin, Tenn.) and senior hurdler Caleb Corprew (Midwest City, Okla.).
Corprew is one of two defending OVC outdoor champions returning for Belmont. He ran to first in the 400-meter hurdles a year ago and qualified for the NCAA East Region Championships along with teammate Nate Nammour (Tampa, Fla.). Nammour, a then-sophomor, was the 400-meter conference champion.
The Belmont men finished second at that outdoor conference championship with a program-record 138 points. They lost only 27 of those points to graduation in the offseason.
The Belmont women came in 10th at last spring's outdoor championships, but the Bruins have already improved on their conference standing from the 2017 indoor meet. They doubled their point total from the year prior and Harvey expects a continuation of that upward trend for the outdoor slate.
"For the ladies, we want to ride the momentum that we have," he said. "There's a lot of young freshmen that now get to see collegiate outdoor after taking their lumps in indoor. They're learning and growing."
Senior Karly Hibbard (Edmonds, Wash.) was the top scorer at the OVC Indoor Championships with a school-record throw in the shot put that earned fifth place. Sophomore Kortney Schardt (Lindenhurst, Ill.) was the next best individual placer, taking sixth in the 5,000 meters.
Belmont graduated its only female champion from last year's OVC Outdoor Championships, but Hibbard is one of two returning bronze medalists from that meet. She took third in the javelin while fellow thrower and now-senior Alyssa Andersen (Oswego, Ill.) was third in the hammer.
This year's outdoor conference championships will be held May 10-12 at Tennessee Tech's facilities in Cookeville.