By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The USF track and field team will have two groups of in two different places this weekend as preparation for the Big East Indoor Championships continues.
Head coach Warren Bye will accompany pentathlon competitors Lindsay Arnold, Rachael Klinger and freshman Kaylin Martin at Indiana University's Gladstein Invitational on Friday. The rest of the Bulls will take part in the Notre Dame Invitational on Saturday.
USF has made the Gladstein Invitational a routine trip and Bye said it prepares the Bulls well for the grind that leads up to Big East indoors on Feb. 16 in Geneva, Ohio.
"The schedule sets up to where we can do a pentathlon, take a week off, do another pentathlon at Penn State, take a week off and be ready for the Big East Championships," Bye said.
Friday will mark the first-ever pentathlon for Martin, who excelled in hurdles and the high jump at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, N.M.
"We've had a pretty good history of kids that hurdle and high jump, and have really good speed, so we're going to see what she can do," Bye said. "It will be a challenge for her, but it will be good for her."
Klinger redshirted last year during indoors and is in her second season competing in the pentathlon. The junior made a splash in the pentathlon two indoor seasons ago when she posted 3,310 points to rank third all-time in USF's history book.
Bye said Arnold trained well during the summer and fall, and the junior will look to improve her personal best indoor total of 2,738 points that rank her eighth all-time at USF.
A total of 47 Bulls will be with the rest of the USF coaching staff at Notre Dame for the team's second major meet of the indoor season. The Bulls will compete against DePaul, Michigan State and Notre Dame, which won its eighth Big East men's outdoors title last spring after edging USF on the final day. The Notre Dame men also won their fifth Big East indoor title last February.
"Notre Dame is an all-around program. They're going to have kids in every event. They have good sprinters and hurdlers, jumpers and great distance runners. They're just solid across the board," Bye said. "The kids look forward to going up and competing against them. We also get to see how conference foes are doing and face them in head-to-head action."
USF fared well against some of the best programs in the nation last weekend at the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener, where the Bulls had 18 women and 15 men qualify for the Big East Indoor Championships. Senior Jared Thomas beat out foes from Alabama, Florida, LSU, Auburn and Southern Miss to win the weight throw.
"Jared is a big-time competitor and steps up all the time because he loves to win, and he had a good start," Bye said.
Sophomore Drew Volz qualified for the Big East meet with a pole vault mark of 16' 6 3/4" and newcomer Winston Perry, a freshman from Fort Lauderdale, also cleared 16 feet in the event.
"He's done a really good job of doing what he needs to do to get where he's at right now," said Bye of Perry, who set a new personal record in the event.
Graduate student Aireonna Bailey also shined in her USF debut, finishing sixth in the 60 at 7.68 seconds and seventh in the 200 at 24.45 seconds, which qualified her for Big East indoors in the event.
"We're looking forward to watching her progress as the season moves along and think she will have very success indoor and outdoor seasons," Bye said.
Alfred Higgs, another USF newcomer, qualified for Big East indoors with a 200 time of 21.73 seconds that earned him a seventh-place finish. Higgs, a JUCO transfer from the Bahamas, became eligible just two days before the Alabama meet and joined a group that impressed Bye the first time out.
"It was a good, solid opener. Now we kind of know where they're at and know how to move forward," Bye said. "It gives us a chance to now build off last week's competition."
USF travels to Lawrence, Kan., next weekend for the Jayhawk Classic and heads to Penn State on Feb. 2 in final preparation for the conference meet.
USF Competitors at Indiana Meet (Friday)
Lindsay Arnold, pentathlon
Rachael Klinger, pentathlon
Kaylin Martin, pentathlon
USF Competitors at Notre Dame Invitational (Saturday)
Courtney Anderson, high jump
Cynthia Aoufoh, triple jump
Aireonna Bailey, 60, 200, 4x400
Kayla Bratcher, 3K
Paige Cooke, high jump
Hannah Gospodinsky, shot put, weight throw
Dariel Jackson, 60, 200
Kadeidra Jackson, 60, 200, 4x400
Rachael James, 400, 4x400
Ena Johnson, 60 hurdles, 200
Mallory Johnson, pole vault
Lauren Kilts, high jump
Carissa Leonardi, pole vault
Brittany London, pole vault
Leandra Munson, mile
Robyn Oakley, 800, 4x400
Christine Poole-Trice, 200, 400, 4x400
Abby Ritter, mile
Laticia Sims, 60 hurdles, 200
Miriam Skipper, 60, long jump
Yasmin Smith, 800
Samantha Specht, 200, long jump, 4x400
Ashanti Stewart, 200, 400, 4x400
Melissa Teape, 60, 200, 4x400
Tralanda Todd, long jump, triple jump
Atasha Warren, shot put, weight throw
Kelli Williams, mile
Monique Williams, 60, 200
Narricka Williams, 60 hurdles, 400
LaTeshia Willis, 60, 200
Paul Barrett, 400, 60 hurdles, 4x400
Kevin Bell, 60, 200
Nick Friel, 400, 60 hurdles
Eddie Galan, pole vault
Landon Hargrove, 60 hurdles
Alfred Higgs, 60, 200, 4x400
Bryan Kilts, high jump, long jump
Wyatt Metzger, pole vault
Chase Meyers, high jump
Franklin Mosely, 400, 4x400
Matthew Oneal, triple jump
Justin Osking, shot put
Winston Perry, pole vault
Othiel Teixeira, 800, 4x400
Jared Thomas, shot put, weight throw
Drew Volz, pole vault
Roshard Williams, 60, 200