GREENSBORO -- The North Carolina A&T indoor track and field teams will be very busy this weekend. The women’s and men’s teams will compete in three separate meets with one meet apiece occurring on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The meets Friday and Saturday will be hosted by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
Friday’s meet, the Gene Anderson Invitational, is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. The Joe Hilton Invitational, Saturday’s meet, begins at 8 a.m. The Aggies then head to Winston-Salem for the third time this season to compete in the Winston-Salem State Open.
The Gene Anderson Invitational will be scored, while the Joe Hilton Invitational is an open meet that will feature approximately six teams. A&T director of track and field programs Duane Ross said he is taking a group of sprinters back to the JDL Fast Track on Sunday to keep them sharp.
Two-sport standout Desmond Lawrence has shed his football pads and is fully involved in track and field. He will compete on Friday and Sunday. On Friday, he will enter his men’s 60-meter heat with the best time after running a 6.70 last week at the Wake Forest Invitational. After making his Aggies debut last Saturday, Liberty transfer Leonard Robbins will also compete on Friday and Sunday.
Robbins will enter the men’s 200 meter dash preliminary with the best time at 21.90. He and teammate Todd Townsend are in the same heat in the men’s 400 meter dash. Robbins and Townsend are seeded 1,2 in the heat with Robbins posting a 48.00 and Townsend posting a 48.90.
On the field side of things, Keenan Smith will compete in the long and triple jumps on Friday. Smith jumped an indoor-best 50-feet, 1 ¼ inches at the Wake Forest Invitational last week. His teammate Marquis Noble will be more of a favorite in the long jump as Noble’s chief competition appears to be N.C. State’s Jonathan Addison.
Kendrick Smith will compete in the triple jump on Saturday, while freshman Frank Quarles will jump in the long jump pit on Saturday. Quarles jumped 23-feet, 3 ¾ inches ranking him fifth in the MEAC and 48th nationally.
On the women’s side, sophomore Nakita Gray returns to the high jump a week after posting a posting a personal-best 5-foot, 10-inch jump at the JDL Fast Track. Her success this past weekend led her to be named the MEAC Women’s Field Athlete of the Week. She is ranked ninth on the NCAA Division I Indoor Qualifying List, and she will face her biggest challenge of the season as Virginia’s Moira Cronin enters the competition on Friday with a mark of 6-feet.
Roshel Bygraves will make another appearance in the 400 meters on Friday. Bygraves has a seed time of 57.50. Her heat will include UNC’s Kendra Douglas (55.97) and Cori Floyd (56.29).
“Busy weekend for us, it’s all geared around getting our athletes sharp in preparation for MEAC which will be coming up in less than a month,” said Ross. “Once again, we’re keeping these meets close to home, working on some things that we need to work on especially with our team being so young.”