Huskies look to get back on top

A UConn sprinter competes in the 2016 Husky Invitational on April 16, 2016. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s track and field team heads to Birmingham, Alabama to compete in the indoor track American Athletic Conference championships. The Huskies will look to win the indoor championship for their first time since the 2013-14 season.

Last year, the University of Houston Cougars captured the American title and are heavily favored to do so again this season. Houston is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll; no other team in the American touches the top 25. Of the 11 schools within the American, only seven men’s teams will be competing: UConn, Houston, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Memphis, USF and Tulsa.

UConn comes into the conference championship after a dominant weekend with a first-place team finish at the Artie O’Connor Invitational. The Huskies commanded the scoresheet with eight athletes finishing in first-place, allowing them to finish 100 points ahead of the field. Included in the first-place finishes was senior hurdler Randall Wall, who was selected by the American as the Athlete of the Week after he ran a career best 8.15 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, which was third best in the American this season.

“This award couldn’t go to a more deserving athlete, Randii has made himself into a division I hurdler,” Greg Roy, head coach of the track and field team, said in a UConn Athletics article.

For UConn to capture its first indoor championship in three years, the Huskies need for everyone to step-up.

In the short-distance running events, senior captain Chinedu Amonu has been as consistent as anyone this season in short-distance running, especially in the 400-meter where he has the American’s second best time of 47.44 seconds. As for the long-distance, in the 800-meter Alvaro Chavez has the top time in the American this season of 1:49.35.

In the field events, senior captain Craig Hunter will look to improve upon his six first-place finishes this season in the pole-vault. His top jump this year is 5.25 meters, second in the conference. The Huskies earned a first place finish in the weight throw last weekend through Sebastian Castano, who looks to carry this success over into the weekend.

In the jumping events, the Huskies will look for Malik Snead to culminate a solid season, which saw him record the second-best triple-jump in the American this season of 15.28 meters.

The American championships will start Friday, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. at the Birmingham Complex in Birmingham, Alabama and will carry into Saturday before champions are crowned.  


Kenny Beardsley is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kenneth.beardsley_iii@uconn.edu.