Jan. 13, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss Golden Eagles track and field teams are set to start the 2012 season when they travel to the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener in Birmingham, Ala., at the Fair Park Arena on Saturday.
The women's team enters the season ranked No. 13 in the nation released by The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) released its preseason poll Tuesday afternoon.
The Golden Eagle women's team is coming off a record-breaking year and returns all but one of the Eagle performers that led Southern Miss to a 13th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championship and 10th place at the NCAA Outdoor Championship.
Southern Miss and UCF women's teams are the only Conference USA teams ranked among the top 25 with UCF holding a No. 6 ranking.
With an impressive outing last season, Southern Miss welcomes back two returning All-Americans from the 2011 team that posted a pair of top-10 national finishes including the indoor champion in the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The team's returning All-Americans are seniors Tori Bowie and Ke'Airra Jones. Bowie also makes her first appearance on the Bowerman Watch List, making more Southern Miss history.
Head Coach Kevin Stephen begins his fifth season as head coach and returns 14 letterwinners on the men's side and 19 letterwinners on the women's team. Seven Golden Eagles are ranked among the top 25 in several events. Bowie is currently ranked No. 1 in the long jump and No. 14 in the 200 meters. Jones is ranked No. 2 in the high jump and No. 8 in the triple jump.
Justin Sims, the reigning C-USA champion in the 100 meters, enters the weekend ranked No. 5 in the 60-meter dash. Robert Collingwood is No. 16 in the shot put while Jamal Young is ranked No. 17 in the 400 meters.
The Golden Eagles will begin competition at 10 a.m. Saturday with the high jump and concludes with the traditional 4x400 relay scheduled for 6:15 p.m.