By John Riemer, Athletic Communications Intern

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW track and field team hopes to pick up some late-season momentum when it competes in East Carolina’s Bill Carson Invitational this weekend (April 11- 12) against regional rivals ECU, UNC Charlotte and South Carolina.

The Seahawks, who are competing for the sixth time this spring, are coming off several strong performances at the Pepsi Florida Relays last weekend in Gainesville, Fla.  Four school relay records were broken, including the men’s 4x100m relay, men’s and women’s 1600m shuttle relay, and the women’s 4x800m relay.

The Bill Carson Invitational is ECU’s first home meet at the newly-constructed Olympic Sports Complex. The eight–lane polyurethane track was completed during the summer of 2011, replacing the old Bunting Track. The last time the Pirates hosted a track meet was the Pirate Relays in 2003.

“ECU has been looking forward to hosting this meet. I have never been there in my 22-year coaching career,” said UNCW Track and Field Head Coach Jim Sprecher. “They have a new facility that’s fantastic and will add to the competitive atmosphere and, as a result, we should get some special performances.”

The meet is named after ECU’s late Track and Field Head Coach Bill Carson, who led the program for 40 years.

“All four teams have great track programs and great histories. We recruit a lot of the same athletes, so a lot of them know each other from high school and will renew some rivalries,” said Sprecher.

The familiar foes all had school records fall at the University of Florida and hope to continue to post strong performances on the new Pirate track, which is located behind Clark-LeClair Stadium.

ECU athletes set three school records at UF’s Percy Beard Track, highlighted by Kayla Padgett in the Hammer Throw, Tyshonda Hawkins in the 200m and Avion Jones in the High Jump.

UNCC’s 4x400m team of Anthony Bynum, Christopher Boyd, Brian Hamilton and Chris Tate broke their school record, while South Carolina had four relay teams finish in the top five in the elite competition in Florida. The relays included the men’s 4x100m, men and women’s 4x200m and the men’s shuttle hurdle relay.

The three teams will provide stiff competition for the Seahawks. The success of the relay teams from each school shows the depth in various events.

“Overall, I’m looking forward to the entire program,” noted Sprecher. “This is going to be a very competitive college track meet. The one thing about all four programs is that they emphasize the team concept. All the events are going to be very competitive.”

For the Seahawks, senior Dylan Skinner will try to continue his strong season and race the 400m, 1500m, and 4x400 relay. Junior Cody Love joins Skinner on the 4x400 relay and will also look to continue his impressive season in the 400m Hurdles.

Senior sprinter Maleena Reid and middle distance runner Meredith Bozzi anchor the Seahawk women. Reid will race the 200m as well as be a member of the 4x100 relay. Bozzi will compete in the 200m, 400m Hurdles, and the 4x400 relay.

The meet begins with field events on Friday, April 11, at Noon. The field events continue into Saturday and the running events begin at 11:30 a.m. with the steeplechase.

“I have always believed that when you have strong competition, a good facility and have nice weather, the performances will take care of themselves. That’s all we can hope for and it looks like we’re going to get all three of those things this weekend,” said Sprecher.