When The University of Akron track and field team hosts the Northeast Ohio Quad this weekend, it will do so as an elite program.
Boasting a number of nationally-ranked athletes, the men's team entered the week with the No. 1 ranking in the Great Lakes Region, ahead of No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Purdue.
Freshman Shawn Barber, who is the No. 2 pole vaulter in the country, is the Zips' top-ranked individual after a school-record jump of 18-08.75 last weekend at the Texas Relays. He is joined in the top 10 by Gabriel Genovesi, who is ranked 10th in the 800-meters (1:49.82) and multi-event athletes Alex McCune and Bryan Jones, who are ranked No. 8 and No. 9 in the decathlon, respectively.
The women's team is off to a strong start as well this season and is currently ranked No. 4 in the region behind No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Michigan State.
The annual Northeast Ohio Quad meet will once again be held at Lee R. Jackson Track & Field Complex this Friday and Saturday and will feature athletes from Akron, Ashland, Bowling Green, Kent State and Youngstown State. There is no charge for admission.
The action begins with the hammer throw competition Friday at 3:30 p.m. and continues with the remaining field events Saturday at 11 a.m. The meet concludes later that afternoon with the start of the running events at 2 p.m.
This weekend's meet will serve as the first of three home meets during the outdoor season for UA. The Zips will also host the Campbell/Wright Invitational from May 3-4 and the 2013 Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships from May 9-11.