Track team to host home meet to prepare for Big 12 Championships

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Competing in its final event before the Big 12 Conference Indoor Championships, the track and field team will welcome several smaller teams to the KSU Open Saturday.

The meet, which will be in Ahearn Field House, starts with field events at 10 a.m., and track events are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. The Wildcats have 18 men and 19 women scheduled to compete in the meet.

Coach Cliff Rovelto said the team has held the open for 19 years and uses it as a way to tune up at home before the Big 12 Conference meet.

“The advantage to our team is they get to sleep in their own beds and don’t have to worry about sleeping on buses,” Rovelto said. “It’s probably better for our kids, and tougher for our coaches, but we certainly didn’t want to travel the week before the conference meet.”

Because of Ahearn’s smaller flat track, the meet will draw mostly smaller schools and will not provide a lot of strong competition for the team.

“I don’t think we really have that much competition, so in that aspect, it won’t be the same as conference,” said senior Laci Heller. “But it will be good to have a nice home meet before the conference meet and not have to travel.”

Field athletes, including Heller and sophomore Loren Groves, who both have qualified for the NCAA championships in the weight throw, will be mostly featured at the meet.

“It will give us a good chance to get another mark and hopefully will give us a little confidence,” Heller said. “I’m excited. We should throw huge this weekend.”

The meet will be most important for the field athletes, who, Rovelto said, need to stay in rhythm before the Big 12 Conference meet.

“Practicing here and getting to compete here is an advantage to us,” Heller said. “You just have an advantage because you know how your ring feels because you practice on it everyday.”

The majority of the runners will not compete this weekend, particularly athletes that are competing in events that are 400-meters and longer.

After hosting the meet, the Wildcats will compete in the conference championships Feb. 29-March 1, in Lincoln, Neb.

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