HOUSTON – After a great season opening meet last Friday, the Northwestern State men's and women's track and field teams will travel to Houston to take part in the Howie Ryan Invitational.
The invitational will take place at the Yeoman Field House and will include entries from 18 different schools.
The two-day event will not be scored as NSU goes up against Grambling State, Houston, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, North Texas, Prairie View A&M, Rice, Sam Houston State, Southern Methodist, Southern-New Orleans, Stephen F. Austin, Texas Southern, Texas State, Texas-Pan American and Texas San Antonio.
Both squads will be setting the bar high for the weekend after compiling five first place and 15 top-three finishes at the McNeese Indoor a week ago.
"We are hoping to improve on last week's performances," said Demon track and field head coach Leon Johnson. "We are not too concerned with placing as long as we can make improvements.
The Demons had good performances from senior Wayne Douglas, sophomore Emmanuel Williams and freshman Lionel Ellison in the jumps at McNeese.
Douglas and Williams finished one and two in the triple jump while Ellison took first in the high jump.
Johnson also has high hopes for the Demon sprint group as Justin Walker and Kendal Taylor make a full return to the track after competing in just one event each last weekend.
"In addition to having Justin and Kendal competing fully, we will be able to wear our spikes," said Johnson. "We were unable to wear them last week and I think it will make a big difference."
Lady Demon head coach Mike Heimerman is anticipating improvements for the women's squad as well.
"I am really looking forward to this weekend," said Heimerman. "We have had a great week of practice with all of the groups and I think that we are capable of recording better marks all around."
Heimerman also noted the importance of the sprinters being able to wear their spikes this weekend.
"I am expecting great things from all of our sprinters this week because they get to wear their spikes," said Heimerman. "Our 4x400 should seem like a whole new team after this week and I think they will be much more competitive."
Southland Conference Women's Field Athlete of the Week Janae Allen is set to have an equally impressive performance this week after taking home first in the shot put and third in the weight throw at McNeese.
"Janae has the ability to crush her personal-record in the shot put this weekend," said Heimerman. "Last weekend she threw a couple of marks that would go far beyond her current best but they did not count due to her foot crossing the foul line. As she continues to develop her technique I think we will see some really great marks from her."
NSU heads to Joplin, Mo. for its next competition at the Missouri Southern Lion Open next Friday.