DENTON, Texas (3/21/08) - The University of North Texas track and field team will head south this weekend to open up its outdoor season at the Horned Frog Invitational on the campus of Texas Christian University.
The North Texas men's and women's teams are coming off third place finishes at the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Track Championships held in late February.
“I’m satisfied with our indoor finish, but our goal is to win the outdoor championships,” Watkins said. “Unlike Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee, we don’t have an indoor facility, so we’re much more suited to make a run for a team title when we host the outdoor championships in May.”
Ryan Varner, Toby Edwards and Josh Papagno are three of only 12 upperclassmen on the team who will be depended on to help shoulder the load. In 2007, Varner and Edwards both qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regionals as sophomores.
Varner, a junior from Comstock, Texas, placed fourth in the 200-meter dash at the 2008 SBC Indoor Championships, as well as last season’s indoor and outdoor championships. In 2007, Varner earned outdoor all-conference honors as a member of the 4X400 relay team and qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regionals in the 200.
Edwards is seeking to earn all-conference honors in both the indoor and outdoor season for the second consecutive year. The junior from Athens, Texas placed third at the SBC Indoor Championships last month with a jump of 6-08.25.
On the women’s side, Lauren Wiggins and Brandi Stanfield anchor a women’s team in search of its first outdoor title since 2003.
Wiggins, a junior from Carrollton, Texas, was the lone representative for the Mean Green at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships. Wiggins, the Sun Belt Conference champion in the 55-meter hurdles, finished 14th overall at the NCAA meet last weekend. Last season, Wiggins earned outdoor all-conference honors in the 100-meter hurdles and qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regionals finishing 13th out of 19 competitors. Her time of 13.68 at the SBC Outdoor Championships set the school record in the 100 hurdles. Stanfield is the defending outdoor champion in the triple jump. Stanfield earned all-conference honors during the 2008 indoor season with a second place finish at the SBC Championships.
The Horned Frog Invite will begin Friday at 5 p.m. with the discus. All other field and running events will be held Saturday, beginning with the 1500-meter run at 11:30 a.m.