WASHINGTON - The American University track and field team is in Lewisburg, Pa., this weekend for the Patriot League Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Bucknell on Saturday and Sunday.
The Eagles return three indoor Patriot League champions from last season with seniors Alaeldin Tirba and Liam Purdy, and junior Matthew Rainey. Tirba, Purdy, and Rainey were all members of the winning 4x800m relay squad that timed through in 7:31.40 to eclipse the decade-old AU school record (7:31.91). Purdy also went on to earn an individual title in the 800-meter run, clocking through with the third-fastest time in program history (1:53.25) in what became a storied finish after he went the last 500m with only one shoe.
Tirba will open the weekend's events at 3 p.m. on Saturday with the 5,000m run alongside junior Ben Doiron, while Rainey will open Sunday's schedule at noon in the mile with sophomore Gerard D'Ambrosio III. Purdy will look to defend his individual title in the 800m at 2 p.m. on Sunday. He enters the weekend ranked fourth in the field with his latest personal record (PR) time of 1:52.81.
Junior Trevor Patton is the lone field event competitor for the weekend, as he takes on the long jump field. Patton was third in the event last season with his school record jump of 7.11m (23-4).
Tirba and Doiron will retake the track one final time on Sunday, closing the individual events for the men's team with the 3,000m run. Tirba currently holds the second-fastest time in the Patriot League in both the 3000m and 5000m runs. He timed through with the 10th fastest time in program history for both events earlier this season after he placed fourth in the 5000m run at the Dr. Sander Invitational (14:33.79) and second in the 3000m run at the Camel City Invitational (8:17.98).
On the women's side, senior Brianna Belo highlights as the top returner from the championships last year. She was runner-up in the 500m dash in school-record fashion (1:12.63). This year, she will highlight the 800m field, another one of her four school-record events. She currently ranks seventh in the conference with her 2:13.14 season-best.
Junior Adriana Hooks and freshman Shelbi Wuss will open the women's events with Saturday's 5000m run. Hooks was fifth in the event last season with the second-fastest time in school history (17:13.73). She comes into the event ranked second once again with her season-best time of 17:17.24.
The pair will be back again on Sunday for the 3000m run. Hooks is once again ranked within the top-ten in the league with her 9:57.76 season-best while Wuss' 10:07.81 PR has her at 17th in the field.
Both the men and women will also field teams in the 4x800m and distance medley relays.
For the latest on AU Track & Field, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_TrackXC.
AUTF SCHEDULE - SATURDAY
3:00 p.m. - 5000m Run, Men (Ben Doiron, Alaeldin Tirba)
4:25 p.m. - 5000m Run, Women (Adriana Hooks, Shelbi Wuss)
5:15 p.m. - Long Jump, Men (Trevor Patton)
5:40 p.m. - 4x800m Relay, Men
5:55 p.m. - 4x800m Relay, Women
#AUTF SCHEDULE - SUNDAY
12:00 p.m. - Mile Run, Men (Matthew Rainey, Gerard D'Ambrosio III)
2:00 p.m. - 800m Run, Men (Liam Purdy)
2:15 p.m. - 800m Run, Women (Brianna Belo)
3:10 p.m. - 3000m Run, Men (Ben Doiron, Alaeldin Tirba)
3:30 p.m. - 3000m Run, Women (Adriana Hooks, Shelbi Wuss)
3:50 p.m. - DMR, Men
4:05 p.m. - DMR, Women