By Ruben Garcia / TrackTown USA
EUGENE, Ore. – The Oregon men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams will venture to Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday and Saturday to compete in the 2016 Razorback Invitational.
The Ducks will be one of 15 teams competing, along with other powerhouses such as host Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Texas A&M, and Pac-12 rival UCLA. The UO men and women are both ranked fifth in the latest USTFCCCA computer rankings. Florida is the top-ranked men’s team, while Arkansas is the No. 1 women’s team.
UO junior distance runner Alli Cash will be competing in the 3,000 meters and distance medley relay. Ashante Horsley, Annie Leblanc and Raevyn Rogers, who ran the fastest indoor 600 meters in collegiate history (1:26.34) at the Washington Preview on Jan. 16 round out the rest of the relay team.
“I think the DMR is a big thing for us,” said Cash at a media availability on Tuesday. “We have such a strong group of female athletes. I think we can put a lot of different people on any different leg of the DMR and still have a great outcome. I think our depth is going to play a huge role.”
Itohan Aikhionbare, a redshirt senior transfer from UC Irvine, will make her second appearance in a Duck uniform in the shot put. Aikhionbare made an impressive debut in Seattle with the second-best mark in school history at 55 feet, 2 ¼ inches.
In her first meet for the Ducks, Aikhionbare admitted to being profusely nervous, however, with a solid performance under her belt she is ready to see what she can do against stiffer competition.
“I’m really excited for this weekend’s meet. It’s going to be a good meet. I’ve never been to a meet this stacked before,” she said.
Another athlete who is especially eager to compete this weekend is UO junior Mitch Modin in the heptathlon. Last year, Modin narrowly missed the qualifying mark in that event for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. He hopes to take care of that task this weekend.
“That’s the plan, go to Arkansas, get the qualifier, chill out, relax, just keep training hard, and hit NCAAs hard,” Modin said.