That’s the number of NCAA programs in attendance at this weekend’s Raleigh Relays on the N.C. State campus.
The meet is known for being one of the largest outdoor meets on the East Coast on a yearly basis for a reason. One of the 120 teams in attendance this weekend will be Ohio.
Led by three top-10 performances from veteran thrower Emma Ryan, the Bobcats won three events and recorded 19 top-10 finishes to kick off its outdoor season last weekend at the Winthrop Invitational. Ryan, Tiffany Hill and Melissa Barrett all captured wins.
The Bobcats return to the Carolinas this weekend to face a much tougher test, however, and arguably the best field its faced this year. This year’s edition of the Raleigh Relays features an array of Atlantic Coast Conference programs along with an impressive number of Mid-American Conference rivals.
“I think to have better competition will be good,” Ryan said. “Everyone tends to do better when they have better competition so I’m looking forward to it.”
Ryan’s success at Winthrop came after missing the whole indoor season due to her redshirt eligibility. As a fifth-year senior practicing for her final season in a Bobcat uniform, she kept motivated and used the extra time off to expand her skillset.
“With not having indoor, I was able to practice my three outdoor events more than I would have just because I didn’t have to throw weight so I feel like that’s helped a lot,” Ryan said. “I felt like I competed well with the competition that was there (at Winthrop).”
Events at the Paul Derr Track and Field Facility begin at 9 a.m. Friday morning with sections of the 5,000-meter run. Action on Saturday will start at 9:45 a.m. with the hammer throw.
Ryan and the Bobcats are approaching the meet feeling confident and optimistic. They are ready to continue to improve as an overall unit after a strong showing in their first outdoor meet.
“I feel like with the throwers, as a group, we’re usually pretty consistent and I feel like we’ve had a lot of successes with the runners,” Ryan said. “I know a couple people had really big PRs last week and I just think it’s a good sign for the rest of the season just to have that good of a start. It’s a good thing to build off of.”