2024 Big East Indoor T&F Champ

Big East Preview: UConn Has Its Eyes On The Prize At Conference Champs

Big East Preview: UConn Has Its Eyes On The Prize At Conference Champs

The men and women of UConn are set to defend their back-to-back Big East indoor titles this weekend in Chicago.

Feb 22, 2024 by Maxx Bradley
Big East Preview: UConn Has Its Eyes On The Prize At Conference Champs

Since Notre Dame left town for the ACC in 2014, a handful of Big East programs have had their way at the indoor championships. 

From 2014-2020, the Villanova men and women have accumulated 11 conference championships, sweeping the titles in 2014-2015, 2018-2019 and 2020. Following the cancellation of the 2021 championships, both the men and women of Connecticut have gone back-to-back, as each are looking for a three-peat this time around.

If the last few months are any indication, the Huskies once again are the team to beat this weekend in Chicago. 

UConn Remains The Team To Beat

Without a doubt, there are more than few events where UConn significantly stands out above the rest, but both Huskies programs should have at least one scorer in all but four of the 36 total events. That's not including the 4x800m, where only two conference programs on either side have ran one.

On the men's side, where the team lacks scorers in the mile and 3K, they more than make up for it in the triple jump, long jump and shot put, having the top three entries in each event. 

In another five events, they have two athletes ranked within the top three.

On the women's side, the Huskies are projected to pick up zero points in both the 800m and 5K, but similar to the men, the long and triple jump will make up for it with all three athletes making up the top three finishers, as well as having three other events with a pair of athletes on the podium.

Individually, there are 58 UConn athletes slated to score in some capacity over the two-day championship. Two of those 58 include Kasey Savage and and Joshua Mooney, one a jump specialist and the other a multi extraordinaire. 

Savage comes in ranked No. 4, No. 3 and No. 2 in the high, long and triple jump, eyeing a potential triple podium finish if the stars align. Mooney on the other hand sits atop the heptathlon leaderboard, as well as No. 3 in the 60mH and No. 6 in the pole vault. 

Another ten men have a chance at scoring double-digits in their own right, only adding to the nearly insurmountable total. 

Alyssa Elliott is sure to have a busy weekend herself, entering the weekend ranked No. 1 in the pentathlon, along with a spot in the top eight in the 60mH, long jump and high jump.

All-in-all, the men's squad has a very legitimate shot at scoring north of 200 points and quite honestly could easily double the runner-up's total. The women won't have as much leeway as the men, but should still be able to separate themselves from the rest of the conference as the meet progresses.

Where Others Can Make Up Ground

Taking down the reigning back-to-back champs will be nothing short of a challenge, but there are a few different scenarios where the rest of the Big East can chip away.

For starters, Georgetown's contingent of five half-milers have all ran under 1:51, with freshman star Tindoda Matsatsa and Tim McInerney both under 1:48. The Hoyas will also most likely put together an elite 4x800m group, hoping to defend their 2022 and 2023 titles.

Just like the Hoya men, the Hoya women are ready to make some noise of their own, with none other than 2-time All-American Chloe Scrimgeour leading the charge. The junior is the the top entrant in the 3K and 5K, additionally sitting No. 7 and No. 5 in the nation in both events. Melissa Riggins (3k, Mile) and Maggie Donahue (5k) have a very strong shot of joining Scrimgeour on the podium, with Riggins ranked No. 2 in both of her events, while Donahue sits at No. 3.

Led by junior Bulldog Matthew Forester, Butler has quite the 3k/5k group set to compete, with Jesse Hamlin (No. 2) and David Slapak (No. 5) ready for 15 laps, while Forrester, and William Zegarski will have at least 25 laps on deck if they opt for the 5k. 

Additional Individuals To Watch

  • Kimberley May, Providence: The Kiwi junior took the collegiate scene by storm last month after running a then NCAA lead of 4:27.85 in the mile. Somehow even more impressive, May anchored the Friar DMR last weekend, bringing them home in a 4:25.84 split before stopping the clock in the second-fastest NCAA mark of all-time, 10:44.07. 
  • Sean Dolan, Villanova: The seven-time conference champion and 2022 800m All-American has competed just three times this season, but has run under 1:47 in each of his two 800m races. For now, Dolan sits No. 9 in the NCAA, just two spots back of his freshman teammate Matsatsa, ranked No. 7.
  • Roschell Clayton, Villanova: Since stepping foot on campus, Clayton has been something of a high jump specialist. The school record holder is coming off of a lifetime best clearance of 6-2, which was her third consecutive time over 6-0. She sits tied for 6th in the NCAA heading into the weekend.
  • Liam Murphy, Villanova: Another Wildcat ranked in the top ten in their respective event, Murphy sits No. 9 in both the mile and 5k amongst his fellow collegians. Murphy hasn't lost in a Big East championships since the fall of 2022, and I'm sure he doesn't want to start now.

The 2024 Big East Championships will be streamed live on FloTrack, with coverage starting at 12:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 21. 

You can find the meet schedule here, and live results can be found here.