NORMAN, Okla. — Both the men’s and women’s teams from the University of Oklahoma Track and Field program climbed into the top 10 of the sport’s national rankings released Wednesday by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Oklahoma women come in at No. 6 while the Oklahoma men are at No. 9, the highest ranking of the outdoor season for both teams.
The Sooners are one of just two Big 12 schools with both teams in the nation’s top 10. The Oklahoma women rank second in the Big 12 behind No. 1 Texas A&M while the men are third behind No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 4 Texas Tech. Just six points in the rankings system separate each OU team from moving up a spot on the national list. The USTFCCCA rankings currently include both preseason data and marks for the 2010 season.
The women are bolstered by the throws group that claims eight spots in the national rankings, four of which are in the top eight. Redshirt-freshman Karen Shump leads the way as the nation’s second-ranked athlete in the shot put and sixth in the discus. Sophomore Brittany Borman is fourth in the current discus rankings, but holds the nation’s longest throw of the 2010 season. Amy Backel, the OU record holder in the javelin, currently sits at No. 8 in the event. Rounding out the throwers in the nation’s top 20 are Tia Brooks, No. 18 in the shot put, and Kelsey Poljansek, No. 17 in the discus.
Sprinter Scottesha Miller is a part of three top-12 rankings as she comes in at No. 9 in the 200-meter dash, No. 12 in the 100-meter dash and No. 6 as part of the 4×100-meter relay. Joining Miller from the sprints group in the nation’s top 10 is Latoya Greaves who comes in at No. 7 in the 100-meter hurdles. Jasmine Simmons ranks No. 19 in the triple jump.
On the men’s side, the Sooners are led by two athletes who rank No. 1 in their respective events as they look to defend titles. Ronnie Ash, who has the third fastest 110-meter hurdles time in the world this year, and Will Claye, who returned to action last weekend in the triple jump, each claim the nation’s top spots as both hold undefeated streaks. Claye is also ranked No. 9 in the long jump
The defending Big 12 champion in the discus, Luke Bryant holds a No. 6 ranking in the event while the 2010 Big 12 champion in the indoor 60-meter dash, Mookie Salaam, sits at No. 10 in the 200-meter dash and No. 22 in the 100-meter dash. With a PR at last weekend’s Sun Angel Track Classic, Eric Bailey moved up to No. 10 in the 400-meter hurdles. Chad Radgowski rounds out the Oklahoma men in the top 20 at No. 11 in the javelin.
The Oklahoma program returns to action this weekend when it hosts the first home meet of the outdoor season, the John Jacobs Invitational. Action is slated to begin Friday at the John Jacobs Track and Field Complex with the javelin and weight throw starting at 2 p.m. All other events will be held on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. Admission to the meet is free.